December has a clear theme. As October was for the Rosary and November was for the Holy Souls, December is for Advent. Only one of my two prayers this month is specifically an Advent prayer, but the other is still timely. Before I present them, however, let’s take one last look at the previous month.
I have mixed results from November’s Prayer by Prayer challenge. (Link) Sadly, I wasn’t able to learn the chant for the Dies Irae sequence by heart. I know it better than I did in October, but not well enough to hum it on the bus. The problem was that I simply forgot to play the music for myself every day. I normally listen to music through Spotify, where there are no recordings of the Dies Irae. It’s true that I could have just listened to it on YouTube. But as before, when learning a prayer means changing my routine too much, I end up not learning it.
On the other hand, I was able to insert St. Gertrude’s prayer into my routine very easily. Early in November, my computer at work required me to update my password. I changed it to “Ewiger Vater, ich” — the first three words of the prayer. Then every time I had to log back into my computer, I remembered to pray for the Holy Souls.
December’s Latin: Veni, veni Emmanuel
For years, I have loved the eighteenth-century hymn Veni, veni Emmanuel. But without a hymnal, I can only sing the first verse. This Advent, I want to do better.
Since I already know the melody of this hymn, I’m sure it will be easier than Dies Irae was last month. With Veni, veni Emmanuel, I can focus on learning the lyrics. I will do one verse at a time. And by Christmas Eve, if I only know one more verse than I did before, I will consider it a success!
December’s French: Notre Père
Did you know that French-speaking Catholics are now saying “new” Notre Père or Our Father? (Source) The line “Ne nos inducas in tentationem” (“Lead us not into temptation”) has a new French translation.
In 1966, French Catholics learned to say: “Ne nous soumets pas à la tentation” (“Do not subject us to temptation”). But last June, French-speaking Catholics in Belgium and Africa have said instead: “Ne nous laisse pas entrer en tentation” (Do not let us enter into temptation). This Advent, France has joined them. I think the French-speaking Swiss will make the change in January.
I no longer study French, but I remember it well enough. The first Hail Mary I learned in another language was the Je vous salus, Marie. Now I’d like to learn the Notre Père as well. And I have chosen the traditional formula, because it’s what my confirmation patroness, St. Thérèse of Lisieux, prayed:
Notre Père, qui êtes aux cieux, que votre nom soit sanctifié, que votre règne arrive, que votre volonté soit faite sur la terre comme au ciel.
Donnez-nous aujourd’hui notre pain de chaque jour; pardonnez-nous nos offenses, comme nous pardonnons à ceux qui nous ont offensés; et ne nous laissez pas succomber à la tentation; mais délivrez-nous du mal.
Note: “Ne nos inducas in tentationem” does seem to be a problematic line. Growing up in English-speaking areas of the Philippines, I learned to pray: “Do not bring us to the test.” During two years in New Zealand, I changed it to: “Save us from the time of trial.” Today, in the same areas in the Philippines, the faithful say: “Lead us not into temptation.” I’m happy with what we have at the moment.