Thursday, October 13, 2016

Learning Latin with the Liturgy: Justorum Animae - the Souls of the Just

The Offertory for the Feast of All Saints


Justorum animae in manu Dei sunt, 
The Souls of the Just are in the hand of God,

et non tanget illos tormentum mortis. 

and the torment of death will not touch them.

Visi sunt oculis insipientium mori, 

They seemed to die in the eyes of the foolish,

Illi autem sunt in pace.

They are, however, in peace.



In addition to its use on the Feast of All Saints, the text is used widely for various liturgical functions on feast days of saints and martyrs, such as the Feast of Saints Isaac Jogues, Jean de Brébeuf and Companions on October 19th.

The text is based on the Book of Wisdom 3:1-3:

1) But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them.
2) In the eyes of the foolish they seemed to have died, and their departure was thought to be a disaster
3) and their going from us to be their destruction; but they are at peace.

Nota Bene: In the Latin word 'Iustorum' the Latin initial 'i' is pronounced as a 'y' sound before vowels. In English speaking areas, where we have borrowed words from Latin and pronounce such initial 'i' as a 'j', it is common to spell the Latin now with a 'j'. It should still, however, be pronounced as 'yustorum'.


Here is a grammatical description of the Latin of this text:


Latin
English
Parsing
Grammar Points
Justorum
of the Just
gen. pl. masc. adj.
iustus, iusta, iustum
animae
the souls
nom. pl. fem. noun
anima, animae
in
in
Prep. + Abl.
manu
the hand
abl. sing. fem. noun
manus, manus
Dei
of God
gen. sing. masc. noun
Deus, Dei
sunt
they (are)
3rd pers. pl. pres. ind. verb
sum, esse, fui;
et
and
conj.
non
not
adv.
tanget
will touch
3rd pers. sing. fut. ind. verb
tangō, tangere, tetigī, tāctus
illos
them
acc. pl. masc. dem. adj.
ille, illa, illud; direct object of the verb tanget
tormentum
the torment
nom. sing. neut. noun
tormentum, tormenti; subject of the verb tanget
mortis
of death
gen. sing. fem. noun
mors, mortis
Visi
Seemed
nom. pl. masc. past. part.
videō, vidēre, vīdī, vīsus; passive used with meaning “to seem”
sunt
they (are)
3rd pers. pl. pres. ind. verb
sum, esse, fui; used in conjunction with past part. of videor
oculis
(in) the eyes
abl. pl. masc. noun
oculus, oculi
insipientium
of the foolish
gen. pl. masc. noun
īnsipiēns, īnsipientis
mori
to die
infinitive morior, moriri, moritus
illi
They
nom. pl. masc. dem. adj.
ille, illa illud
autem
however
adv.
sunt
are
3rd pers. sing. pres. ind. verb
sum, esse, fui
in
in
Prep. + Abl.
pace
peace
abl. sing. fem. noun
pax, pacis


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