I have remarked before how suspicious-making it is that none of the old Roman collects for the Sundays after Easter survived Bugnini. This is, surely, a dead give-away of an anti-traditional mindset. Another such give-away is the fact that the OF collect for last Sunday is a modern composition (albeit one which darns together two or three phrases from old books). Nor is Bugnini liturgy the only guilty party; Dr Cranmer wrote a new collect for this Sunday and week of Eastertide; and the (2000) compilers of Common Worshgip in turn evicted his composition in favour of yet another novelty. Whatever is wrong with the old collect for this week?
The Bugnini reformers did in fact keep this collect and assign it to one of the 'green' Sundays. But in doing so they changed it; out went the refence to 'perpetual death' - and since that had to disappear, the parallel reference to 'perpetual joy' had to be changed to 'holy joy'. Wettish.
Here is the preconciliar text: Deus qui in Filii tui humilitate iacentem mundum erexisti: fidelibus tuis perpetuam concede laetitiam; ut quos perpetuae mortis eripuisti casibus, gaudiis facias perfrui sempiternis. God, who in the lowliness of thy Son didst make upright a prostrate world: grant to thy faithful people perpetual joy; that to those whom thou hast snatched from the chances of perpetual death, thou mightest give the fruition of everlasting joys.
I simply love the word-games in the opening phrases. Humilitas comes from humus, the ground, and so it has an etymological sense of flat-upon-the-ground (similarly the Greek tapeinos). So we are offered the elegant paradox that the lowliness of Christ raised upright, erect, a world which was prostrate or, literally, lying. As a frivolous Classicist, I am reminded of the similar word-play at VIII 526 of Ovid's Metamorphoses, where all Calydon is grieving at the death of Meleager: Alta iacet Calydon, lofty Calydon lies prostrate, where, as Adrian Hollis points out, the 'sportiveness' of this combination of the literal and metaphorical is enhanced by the fact that 'lofty' is a traditional epithet (aipeinei Kaludoni Iliad XIII 217). Hollis rightly describes the humour as 'whimsical, almost Callimachean' (it was Callimachus, greatest of all the Greek poets, who elevated verbal fun to be the highest art form).
And then there are the antitheses and assonances. They raise my spirit in the same sort of way as do the brilliant fireworks-displays of the Akathist hymn. Why do killjoys, gloomy Bugninis, want to rob my religion of its fun?
But, underneath the fun, there is saving and glorious truth that the Lord, falling under his Cross to the grime and filth of the ground, is what raises up the fallen world and conveys to us an endlessness of joy. Christian euchology renders soteriological the Callimachean humour. Divinisation, indeed.