During Lent, a season of greater spiritual combat, we have a special prayer at the end of Holy Mass, the Oratio Super Populum, or Prayer Over the People. In the Traditional Latin Mass, we receive these lovely orations each weekday. Paul VI had expunged them with the Novus Ordo, but Benedict XVI restored them in the 2002 edition of the Missale Romanum.
Unlike the Post Communion, the object of the Prayer over the People is the congregation present, not “us” (when the priest includes himself). Father begins, “Humiliate capita vestra Deo … Bow your heads to God …” and then continues.
Here is the Oratio Super Populum for the Second Sunday of Lent in the Ordinary Form, or Novus Ordo with origins in the Missale Parisiense and St Gregory the Great’s Moralia in Job.
Benedic, Domine, fideles tuos benedictione perpetua, et fac eos Unigeniti tui Evangelio sic adhaerere, ut ad illam gloriam, cuius in se speciem Apostolis ostendit et suspirare iugiter et feliciter valeant pervenire.
Species can mean “appearance”, “form”, “beauty” or also “divine splendour”. Gloria and species refer to the transforming divine presence, the Hebrew kabod, as in the cloud or Shekinah that descended on the tent of meeting. Remember that this Sunday we hear the Gospel about the Lord’s Transfiguration before three Apostles on Mount Tabor.
Literal translation: “Bless, O Lord, your faithful people with an eternal blessing, and cause them to cleave to the Gospel of your Only Begotten Son in such a way that they will be enabled continually to sigh for, and blissfully arrive at, that glory whose divine splendour He showed in Himself to the Apostles.”
Current ICEL translation: “Bless your faithful, we pray, O Lord, with a blessing that endures for ever, and keep them faithful to the Gospel of your Only Begotten Son, so that they may always desire and at last attain that glory whose beauty he showed in his own Body, to the amazement of his Apostles.”
Some editorialising in there.
God spoke from the cloud when Moses took three disciples with him up Mount Sinai and his face shone with reflected glory (Exodus 19). The Father spoke from the glory cloud when Christ, the new Moses and even greater than that, took three disciples up Mount Tabor and something of His own divine splendour radiated from Him.
It’s hard to climb the mountain of Lent, but it is worth the effort. Strengthening transformation awaits you on high.
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