Sunday, 28 April 2013

Latin prayer of the week: Act of Hope

A couple of weeks ago I looked at the act of faith.  Here is the second in this set as given in the Compendium to the Catechism, the Act of Hope:

Dómine Deus, spero per grátiam tuam
remissiónem ómnium peccatórum, 
et post hanc vitam ætérnam felicitátem 
me esse consecutúrum: 
quia tu promisísti, qui es infiníte 
potens, fidélis, benígnus, et miséricors.
In hac spe vívere et mori státuo.
Amen.

 Or in English:

O Lord God, 
I hope by your grace for the pardon 
of all my sins
and after life here to gain eternal happiness
because you have promised it 
who are infinitely powerful, faithful, kind, 
and merciful. 
In this hope I intend to live and die. 
Amen.

Between presumption and despair

These days presumption seems to be one of the commonest of errors: the expectation of universal salvation without the requirement of any faith or repentance for sins on our part, means we don't have to make any real effort to practice our faith.  The more conventional teaching of the Church though, is that we need to be in a state of grace to be saved, and that involves the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity.  But the other extreme is equally an error, for Christ preaches that it is not through our own merits, but rather his freely offered grace that we can reach heaven.

Both St Peter and Judas denied Christ; both subsequently realised their error.  The difference between them is that St Peter had the theological virtue of hope, whereas Judas sank into despair.

The simple version of the act of hope contained in one of my prayer books reads:

My God, I hope in you, for grace and for glory, because of your promises, your mercy and your power.

It is a version that emphasizes God's action.  But the Catechism's version though, I think better conveys the need for a response on our part to this offer of mercy.

Looking at the Latin

Here is a word by workd literal translation of the prayer:

Dómine (O Lord) Deus (God), spero (I hope) per (though) grátiam (grace) tuam (your) remissiónem (remission/pardon) ómnium (all) peccatórum (of sins), et (and) post(after) hanc (this) vitam (life) ætérnam (eternal) felicitátem (happiness) me (me) esse consecutúrum (to be following/going after/enjoying - future infinitive): quia (because) tu (you) promisísti (you have promised), qui (who) es (you are) infiníte (infinitely) potens (powerful/strong), fidélis (faithful), benígnus (kind), et (and) miséricors (merciful). In (in) hac (this) spe (hope) vívere (to live) et (and) mori (to die) státuo (I stand/am determined/intend). Amen.

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