Sunday, July 01, 2007
The Grammarian, V
The Old Testament for this morning's mass is another instance of the superiority of the KJV (from whose subservience Fr Petersen reportedly remains on the lam). The Aaronic Blessing reads, "The Lord bless thee and keep thee, etc." Thee, not you. A little lesson in King's English grammar reminds us that "ye" and "you" are plural, while "thee" and "thou" are singular, and there are no exceptions to this rule. Modern translations all blur this distinction, because, of course, modern English in general has abandoned the distinctions between singular and plural in the second person. The pericope from Deuteronomy indicates that these words are to be spoken to the children of Israel; nevertheless it is "thee" not "you."
So the question arises: why?
And the answer is: Israel is addressed as one here, the son of Isaac. One nation, one people, one person. Ultimately for the people of Christ, upon whom the ends of the ages has come, this means that we who are many are one body in Christ, indeed one body of Christ.
Especially is this manifest to us who have just partaken in the Body of Christ at the altar. Hence, the Aaronic benediction is reserved only for mass, and not for prayer offices. It hearkens first to the solidarity of Israel as one son of Isaac, who is the only-begotten son of promise (Ishmael doesn't count, remember); and it hearkens ultimately to the fulfillment of this in Christ the only-begotten Son of God.
At Mass, the body of Christ feeds on the Body of Christ: Holy things for holy people, as the Greeks traditionally say.
All this is succinctly put in the grammatical singular: The Lord bless thee.