The Guéranger Blog

Welcome to the Gueranger Blog! You have stumbled across the notebook I use to record my thoughts as I read through Dom Prosper Gueranger's 15-volume set, The Liturgical Year. I do not have any special expertise in liturgy, but I have some general knowledge of Catholic theology and an enthusiasm for Gueranger's magnum opus. Think of it as the Liturgical Year fan site!

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Angels and the Ascension

Canisius | 22 May, 2007 03:02

Gueranger's meditation for today (IX, 220-224) is a magnificent essay on the angels' union with Christ and with us in the mystical body by way of God's providence. I wish I had the time to write out all the thoughts it provokes, and I will certainly read it again, but at the very least I want to make a note of it here on my searchable Gueranger notebook. If ever I teach a class or give a lecture on angels, I will want to reread this.

I have pointed out before that Gueranger's meditations for the day often seem to be the result of his reflection on the hymn offered at the end of the day's reading. In the hymn for today, from Ambrose (IX, 225), we read the following:

Sit nobis cum coelestibus
Commune manens gaudium,
Illis quod se praesentavit,
Nobis quod se non abstulit.

Gueranger translates this oddly:

Let there be a lasting fellowship of joy between the angels and us; they rejoice because he offered himself to their delighted gaze; we, because he ceased not be be our Brother.

The first half of the translation catches the meaning fairly well, but the latter half misses a nuance. Literally, it should read: "Let there be for us with the heavenly ones a common, lasting joy; for them because he showed himself, for us because he did not take himself away." The translation attempts to explain the sense in which Jesus did not take himself away, but it is probably better to leave it open to all the senses in which that is true.

Note that the Latin text does not verbally refer only to angels, but to all the coelestibus, the heavenly ones. One might think that this could refer to the saints as well as the angels, but Gueranger is a step ahead: the song says that the heavenly ones rejoiced because Jesus presented himself, but there were no saints in heaven before Jesus presented himself! Therefore the ones rejoicing are angels. This may be an example of how Geuranger's meditation process goes two ways: the hymn offers the theme of his meditation, but then his meditation moves him to clarify the meaning of the hymn somewhat in his translation.

I am assuming here that the French is the same as the English; I do not have the French text available to check. Anyhow the possible insight into Gueranger's thought process is interesting.


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