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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Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Latin of the Introits, Advent 2 - Populus Sion

The Introit of today's mass is taken from the Prophet Isaias, with a verse from psalm 79.

Populus Sion, ecce Dominus veniet ad salvandas gentes: et auditam faciet Dominus gloriam vocis suae in laetitia cordis vestri. Ps. Qui regis Israel intende: qui deducis velut ovem, Joseph.

People of Sion, behold the Lord will come to save the Gentiles: and the Lord will make the glory of his voice heard to the joy of your hearts. Ps. Give ear, O thou that rulest Israel: thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep.
(Isaias 30:30 and Psalm 79:2 from the Introit of Mass)

Populus - People.
Sion - of Sion. Should be genitive case, indicating possession, but since Sion is a word of non-Latin origin its ending does not change.
ecce - behold! look!

Dominus - the Lord.
veniet - he will come. Venio is I come. Here the verb is in the future tense.
ad - unto. The noun or pronoun following it will take the accusative tense.
salvandas - 'the saving of'. This is a gerundive - a verbal adjective - see grammatical note below! Salvo is I save; the ending -andas indicates a gerundive in the accusative case, agreeing with gentes which it qualifies.
gentes - the peoples. Gens is people. Here Gentes is plural and in the accusative case, following ad.

et - and
auditam - 'heard'. This is a 'perfect passive participle.' It has the sense of 'having been heard.'
faciet  - he will make. Facio is I make. Faciet is future tense.
Dominus - the Lord. Subject of the verb faciet.
gloriam - the glory. Gloria is glory. Gloriam is accusative case, as direct object of the verb faciet.
vocis - of the voice. Vox his voice. Vocis is genitive case, indicating possession.
suae - his. The ending changes to go with vocis, which it qualifies.
in - in. Followed by the ablative case when it indicates state or location.
laetitia - the joy. Ablative case, to follow in.
cordis - of the heart. Cor is heart. Cordis is genitive case, indicating possession.
vestri - your (plural). The ending indicates genitive case, going with cordis, which it qualifies.

Qui - Who. Relative pronoun. This makes the subject of the verb 'you who' rule.
regis - You rule. Rego is I rule. Regis is you rule (singular).
Israel - Israel. Another non-Latin word whose ending doesn't change here. It should be accusative case, as direct object of the verb regis.
intende - Give ear. Imperative form of the verb.

qui - Who. A relative pronoun.
deducis - you lead. Deduco is I lead. Deducis is you lead (singular).
velut -  like.
ovem - a sheep. Ovis is a sheep. Accusative tense, to go with Joseph, as direct object of the verb deducis.
Joseph - Joseph. Another non-Latin word that doesn't change its ending. Direct object of the verb deducis.

Grammatical Note - The Gerundive

'ad salvandas gentes' - In order to save the peoples.

Salvandas is a gerundive. A gerundive is a verbal adjective - so it is used to qualify nouns as if it were an adjective. It has a passive sense, and expresses something that must or ought to be done. Salvandas means literally something like 'which is to be saved'. So the phrase means literally ' to the peoples which is to be saved' - more colloquially, 'in order to save the people.'

This is quite a common construction. Another example is:
Ad pacem petendam - in order to seek peace.
Ad - towards. Followed by accusative.
Pacem - peace. Pax is peace. Pacem is its accusative, to follow ad.
Petendam - this is the gerundive of peto, I seek, and has the sense of fitting or ought to be sought. The ending -am indicates agreement with the noun pacem.

Gerundives can be recognized since the end with -andus, -endus, -iendus - although the precise ending -us might be changed to agree with whatever noun has been qualified. So it might be -endam (as in petendam) or -andas (as in salvandas).

Amandus - fitting or ought to be loved. (Feminine form amanda, as in the name).
Monendus - fitting our ought to be warned or advised.
Regendus - fitting or ought to be ruled.
Audiendus - fitting or ought to be heard.

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