Thursday, May 16, 2013

Translating Cyril

I've been trying to pray the Liturgy of the Hours in Latin for the last few months. The Psalms and Canticles are not too difficult since they use many of the same words and are often repeated. The most difficult section to read is the second reading in Office of Readings which is usually taken from the Church Fathers. Here's an attempt at translating one of them from the Latin (though he originally wrote in Greek). Some of the passages are awkwardly long and could probably be translated better:

From the Commentary of St. Cyril of Alexandria the bishop on the Gospel of John
(Book 10: PG 74, 434)

If I do not go away, the Paraclete will not come to you.

    All things were completed which were to be dispensed on the earth; but it was altogether necessary that we come to be partners and sharers of the nature of the divine Word, or, our lives left behind, transformed into something else and established for the newness of pious conversation; which otherwise than by participation of the Holy Spirit is not able to come to be.
    However the most oppurtune time for the mission of the Spirit, and its passing into us, that was following the departure of Christ our savior.
    For as long as Christ was still conversing with the faithful in the flesh, he was appearing to all men (as I suppose) a giver of good. In truth, when the time and necessity of ascending to the heavenly Father, how was it not necessary for him to be with his worshipers through the Spirit; and through faith to dwell in their hearts, that, having himself in us, we would declare with faith: "Abba, Father," and that we would easily hasten to every power, and thereafter we would be found unconquered against the traps of the devil and the insults of men, that we may have the one who is an omnipotent Spirit?
    For what transforms them into another certain condition, those in whom the Spirit will come to be and inhabit, and restores them unto the newness of life? Is it not easy to make clear to anyone with the witnesses from the old and new Scriptures?
    Of course, godlike Samuel, when he made words for Saul, saying: The Spirit of the Lord will come upon you, and you will turn into another man. However Blessed Paul says: But all of us, looking upon the glory of the Lord with uncovered face, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Spirit of the Lord. However the Lord is Spirit.
    Do you see that in a certain way the Spirit transforms those in whom it dwells into another image? For it easily transfers them from the sense of earthly things into looking only upon those which are in heaven, and from unwarlike timidity to strenuous and most generous power of soul. But there is no doubt that we are the disciples so affected and confirmed by the Spirit, that they may not be conquered by the assaults of persecutors, but tenaciously adhere to love in Christ.
    Therefore, true is what the Savior says: It is expedient for you that I should return to the heavens. For that time was for the descending of the Spirit.

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