Created, Gathered, Pleasing – The Collect for the 18th Sunday

A few years ago I came across a useful document on the website of the Committee on Divine Worship of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. At the time they were concentrating on the third typical edition of Missale Romanum (for what we now call the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite) - i.e. the Latin original. Now their focus seems to be entirely on the newly issued English translation and I have been unable to find this document on the website at present. It consisted of extracts from the March-April 2002 newsletter of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy (as it was then called) which included the noteworthy changes to Missale Romanum made in the editio typica tertia. Thanks to the Wayback Machine, the document is still available.

Included was the remark that "some prayers, such as the collect for the 18th Sunday of the year, have been corrected." At the time I was gathering texts for the Divine Office for the celebrations inserted into the calendar in 2000. The collects at Mass are by design the same as the concluding prayers in the Liturgy of the Hours on the same day. A change to the Missal in this respect means a change to the Breviary. Naturally I looked up this corrected prayer.

It was a matter of one word.

The text of this collect (called "Opening Prayer" in the translation of the Missal which has just gone into disuse) in the first two editions of the editio typica is as follows:
Adesto, Dómine, fámulis tuis, et perpétuam benignitátem largíre poscéntibus, ut {his}, qui {te} {auctorem} et {gubernatórem} gloriántur habére, et {grata} restáures, et restauráta consérves.
Be present to your servants, Lord, and grant perpetual kindness to those who seek it, that you may make {things to be pleasing} again {to these} who glory to have {you} as {creator} and {guide} and you may preserve what has been restored.
(Curly brackets {} indicate which words are to be taken together, the translations do not necessarily follow the word order of the originals.)

The translation in the English edition, in use until the other day:
Father of everlasting goodness, our {origin} and {guide}, be close to us and hear the prayers of all who praise you. Forgive our sins and restore us to life.
Note that grata disappears.

The old website of the Birmingham Oratory has a Mass Sheet from (presumably, going by the file name) 2002 with the following translation. Although the Latin text is from the third edition, the translation [pdf] is of the text from the first and second editions.
Be present, O Lord, to Thy servants, and grant {to those} who glory to own {Thee} as their {author} and {ruler} the everlasting kindness of restoring what is {pleasing} to Thee, and preserving what Thou hast restored.
The translation is defective since it misses the final clause (ut…restaures, et…conserves) but this is an attempt to make sense of the strange idea – which the grammar of the prayer in this form seems to be expressing – that it is God's task to make life pleasing for his people rather than to make his people pleasing to himself. As we shall see, although this is a very old prayer, grata was only introduced in 1970.

The text in the third edition of the editio typica corrected grata to creata:
Adesto, Dómine, fámulis tuis, et perpétuam benignitátem largíre poscéntibus, ut {his}, qui {te} {auctorem} et {gubernatórem} gloriántur habére, et {creata} restáures, et restauráta consérves.
Be present to your servants, Lord, and grant perpetual kindness to those who seek it, that you may restore {created things} {for these} who glory to have {you} as {creator} and {guide} and you may preserve what has been restored.
In the new translation, now in use, the prayer runs:
Draw near to your servants, O Lord, and answer their prayers with unceasing kindness, that, {for those} who glory {in you} as their {Creator} and {guide}, you may restore what you have {created} and keep safe what you have restored.

In the 1962 Missal (and its predecessors) this collect is given as a prayer "super populum" at the end of Mass for Thursday after the second Sunday of Lent (a.k.a third Thursday in Lent, the station being Santa Maria in Trastevere).

Habere with the accusative is absent and instead tuauctor and gubernator are in the ablative. The indirect object in the purpose clause beginning ut is is ea id  – the distal demonstrative pronoun that – rather than hic haec hoc – the proximal demonstrative pronoun this. Finally, where grata – and later creata – would be found in the Missals of Paul VI and John Paul II, the Missal of John XXIII has congregata.
Adésto, Dómine, fámulis tuis, et perpétuam benignitátem largíre poscéntibus, ut {iis} qui {te} {auctóre} et {gubernatóre} gloriántur, et {congregráta} restáures et restauráta consérves.
Be present to your servants, Lord, and grant perpetual kindness {to those} who seek it, that you may make {things to be gathered up} again {for those} who glory {in you} as {creator} and {guide} and you may preserve what has been restored.
The Latin-English Missal published for the use of the congregation by Burns, Oates and Washbourne in 1962* has the prayers translated by the Reverend J. O'Connell MA and Dr H. P. R. Finberg.
Come, Lord, to the help of thy servants, and grant them the unceasing loving-kindness they implore. Mend {whatever is shattered} in the lives of {those} whose glory is to have {thee} for their {creator} and {guide}; and preserve what thou hast mended.
In 2004 Baronius Press published a new edition of the 1962 Missal for a congregation. There is no indication of the translator. The copyright notice indicates that it is based on the 16th edition of the Daily Missal and Liturgy Manual published by Laverty & Son in Leeds in 1960.
To Thy servants who call upon Thee hearken with unfailing kindness, O Lord, and while they glory {in Thee}, their {Maker} and {Ruler}, do Thou collect and restore {all that was lost}, and once restored preserve it.
Note that both translations appear to mistranslate completely congregata restaures – "{in order that} you may restore the gathered things". Congregata (and grata) must be read as a kind of prolepsis, where the object of restaurare is a word which would only be appropriate if the restoration has already happened. This is why the English translators use "whatever is shattered" and "all that was lost" when the Latin word means precisely the opposite.

There is a marvellous book called Enchiridion Euchologicum Fontium Liturgicorum – The Euchological [of, or pertaining to, the study of prayersHandbook of Liturgical Sources. It contains the text of numerous historical prayers. It begins with Ethnica – i.e. prayers from pagan sources (including extracts from Sophocles' Antigone, Euripides' Bacchae and Aristophanes' Frogs) – and then moves onto Hebraica and then Iudaeo-Christiana and so on into the realms of the sacramentaries (books containing all the prayers to be said by the priest in the Liturgy). Unfortunately it does not have a full index of words used (only an index of Latin formularies) as I would like to look up the use of congrego and restauro in prayers.

In Enchiridion Euchologicum n.1484 Adesto domine is attributed to (the reign of) Gregory II (715-731) as a prayer "super populum" for Thursdays in Lent. Otherwise no indication of the liturgical context is given. It is found in the Sacramentarium Hadrianum Gregorianum.
Adesto domine famulis tuis, et perpetua largire poscentibus, ut {his} qui {te} {auctore} et {gubernatore} gloriantur, et {congregrata} restaures et restaurata conserves.
This is almost precisely the prayer found in what we now call the Extraordinary Form except this source uses his instead of iis. (In the context, there really is very little difference in meaning.)

It was there, in August 2006, that I left the matter. Last Sunday (17th per annum) I remembered this information and dug up a text file with my notes. When I had first looked at it I think I searched the internet for information but drew a blank. At that point Fr Zuhlsdorf had not covered the 18th Sunday in What Does The Prayer Really Say. I see that last year he finally reached it, in a post that discusses translation and inculturation. Also The Tablet, on 4th August 2007 [pdf] published an article by Dom Daniel McCarthy OSB (I assume those are the same person, Ampleforth Abbey, for example, these days prevents monks from having the same name, although in my time there were still a few duplicates).

Fr Daniel informs us that this prayer can be traced back to
…the Verona collection of Mass booklets compiled between 561 and 574, where it appears as a prayer over the people for the fast of…September…according to the old Roman calendar. During the redaction of the Gelasian Sacramentary between 628 and 715…the prayer was transferred to Wednesday of the second week of Lent and the word creata was changed to grata…Sometime shortly before the pontificate of Pope Gregory II (715-731), prayers were composed for the Thursdays of Lent. Accordingly, this prayer was transferred to the Thursday of the second week of Lent, and grata was changed to congregata…In 1970 this prayer over the people…became an opening prayer and was tranferred to this Sunday. In 1970 congregata was restored to grata of the Gelasian, and in 2002 to creata of the Verona.**
I had assumed that grata in 1970 was simply a misprint, or perhaps a misreading of a manuscript note in the minutes of the Consilium. Fr Daniel's article is a close reading of the grammar of the prayer.

*(Not strictly a "1962 Missal" since St Joseph does not appear in the Canon, something that only happened by a decree in November of that year, see Alcuin Reid, The Organic Development of the Liturgy, St Michael's Abbey Press, 2004, chapter 3, fn 582, p. 276)

**(The ellipses around "September" hide a confusion over the Roman calendar whose names had been out of line with their numerical meaning since at least 153 BC and possibly since the reign of King Numa Pompilius, supposedly Romulus' successor. I doubt that the Christians would have bothered to resurrect the Romulan calendar.)