This blog contains regular postings relating to the Traditional Latin Liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church. It includes regular commentary on the saints days and the liturgical cycle, with brief background and extracts from the liturgy both in Latin and English. Much of the material has been extracted from the 'St Andrew's Daily Missal', Dom Gueranger's 'Liturgical Year', or similar sources.

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Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Latin of the Propers, lesson 1 - Dilexisti justitiam

Latin lesson 1 - Dilexisti justitiam

Dilexisti justitiam, et odisti iniquitatem: properea unxit te Deus, Deus tuus, oleo laetitiae prae consortibus tuis. * Eructavit cor meum verbum bonum: dico ego opera mea Regi.
Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. * My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the King.
(Psalm 44:8,2 from the Introit of Mass)

This  is the Introit from the 1st common mass of Virgins who were not martyrs; for example, St Gertrude the Great. The Introit is the sentence which is read by the priest at the start of mass after he has gone up to the altar; or it is sung by the choir during the preparatory prayers. Often it is taken from the Psalms, or some other part of the Old Testament.
Dilexisti - You have loved/valued. This is the perfect tense of the verb, indicating simple past actions. The you is singular, in other words "Thou." The ending -isti is characteristic of the past tense where it is "thou" that has done the action. No special word for you is included, since the verb makes it clear.
justitiam - Justice. Justice is justitia. The -am ending is characteristic of the accusative case, which is used for direct objects of verbs - the thing something is being done to. Here, justice is what is being loved.
et - and
odisti - You have hated. Once again, perfect tense, indicating simple past actions. The same -isti ending.
iniquitatem - iniquity (evil doing). Once again, accusative case, as the direct object of the verb odisti. Iniquity is iniquitas. The characteristic ending -em this time, once again indicates the accusative, for a direct object.
properea - therefore/on that account. One of several words that can have this meaning.
unxit - He has anointed. Perfect tense, indicating simple past. The ending -it is characteristic of the perfect tense, where it is he/she/it that is doing the action.
te - you/thee (singular). Thou, as the subject doing an action is tu; here, thee, the object of a verb, is te.
Deus - God. Subject of the verb unxit - God is doing the action.
tuus - your/thy. Notice the same ending as Deus, the noun it describes.
oleo - with the oil. Oil is oleum. The ending -o indicates this is the ablative case, so meaning by or with the oil.
laetitiae - of gladness. Laetitia is gladness. The ending -ae is the genitive case, which indicates the possessive, of gladness.
prae - before/in front of/in comparison with
consortibus - fellows/companions. The ending -ibus indicates the ablative case, which is always used for a noun that follows prae.
tuis - your/thy. Tuus is your/thy, but the ending here is -is since it is the ablative case, to go with consortibus.
Eructavit - has uttered. Actually, it has the sense of swelling forth. This is the simple past tense.
cor - heart. This is the subject of the verb eructavit. It's the heart that's doing the uttering.
meum - my. Meus is my. The ending -um is because cor is a neuter noun.
verbum - word. This is the object of the verb eructavit - what is being uttered.
bonum - good. Good is bonus. The ending -um is determined since it describes verbum.
dico - I speak. Present tense.
ego - I. Usually in Latin ego is omitted, since it is included in the verb dico. If it is included, as it is here, it means that it is being emphasized: it is I who speak ...
opera - works/deeds. Opus is a work or deed, opera is its plural.
mea - my. The ending -a is to go with opera.
Regi - to the king. Rex is king. Regi is the dative case, which is used to indicate to the King. There is no word for the in Latin.

Reminder about grammar

A simple sentence typically has a main verb, a subject of the verb, and an object of the verb.

In the sentence, God blesses the King: God is the subject of the verb, blesses is the main verb, and the King is the object of the verb.

In Latin, the subject of a simple sentence is in the nominative case, and the object is in the accusative case.

God. Deus is the nominative; Deum is the accusative.
King. Rex is the nominative; Regem is the accusative.
God blesses the King. Deus benedicit Regem.
The King blesses God. Rex benedicit Deum.

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