As noted in the previous article of this series, the Missal according to the Use of Toledo is very unusual in still having two Apologias included among the Offertory prayers in the middle of the 16th century. I will here give the text in Latin, followed by my own translations of them. The first is labelled “Oratio Apologetica S. Ambrosii – An Apologetic Prayer of St Ambrose,” but is actually by St Anselm; the words in brackets appear in earlier versions of this prayer, but are omitted as it is printed in this Missal.
Lord, if we only think of the crime of our delinquency, we do not fulfill the ministry entrusted to (our) observance. For it is a grave matter that we do not come to Thy table with pure heart and innocent hands, but graver still, if, while we fear for (our) sins, we also do not render the sacrifice. Therefore it is permitted to be present (at the sacrifice) for the sake of obedience, to ask for forgiveness, to minister in accord with our office, to implore remedy, to make supplication for the people. I ask, o Lord: strengthen in me that which trembles in fear, heal that which offends, reconcile that which is at variance (with Thee), remove that which corrupts, humble that which is proud. Let (Thy) justice be gentle, merciful Thy correction, [such that it restrain the sin, and] not destroy the sinner. Grant (me) discipline unto salvation, not condemnation unto death. Hear the prayer of the sinner, who Thou visit as he groans in grief.
|The prostration of priestly ordinands in the tradition ordination rite. (photo courtesy of the Fraternity of St Peter)|
O God, who desirest not the death of sinners, but their repentence, from Thy mercy drive me not, a miserable sinner and weak, nor look upon my sins and crimes, and my unclean and base thoughts, by which I am lamentably separated from Thy will; but (look) upon Thy mercies, and on the faith and devotion of those who through me, a sinner, ask for Thy mercy. And because Thou didst will that I, though unworthy, should be between Thee and the people, make me such that I may be able to worthily beseech Thy majesty, for myself, and for the same Thy people. Join our voices to those of Thy holy Angels, so that, just as they praise Thee unceasingly in eternal blessedness, we also by their intercession may merit to praise Thee without blame in this pilgrimage (on earth.)