Rorate Caeli

Prayers from the Roman Missal
In Time of Earthquake

As we mourn the loss of life and the destruction of a priceless cultural and Christian patrimony in the Italian region of Abruzzo, let us not overlook the human and divine depths so vividly expressed in the following prayers handed down from our forefathers, who survived similar catastrophes with faith, hope and adoration of God.

Oratio. Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui respicis terram, et facis eam tremere: parce metuentibus, propitiare supplicibus: ut, cujus iram terrae fundamenta concutientem expavimus, clementiam contritiones ejus sanantem jugiter sentiamus. Per Dominum. (Oratio. Omnipotent and eternal God, who look upon the earth and make it tremble: spare the frightened, show favor to those kneeling before you, so that as we have been terrified by your anger shaking the foundations of the earth we may always know your clemency which heals its grindings. Through our Lord Jesus Christ . . . )
Secreta. Deus, qui fundasti terram super stabilitatem suam, suscipe oblationes et preces populi tui: ac trementis terrae periculis penitus amotis, divinae tuae iracundiae terrores, in humanae salutis remedia converte; ut, qui de terra sunt, et in terram revertentur, gaudeant se fieri sancta conservatione caelestes. Per Dominum. (Secreta. God, who established the earth with its stability, receive the offerings and prayers of your people, and once you have entirely removed all dangers of the earth trembling, convert the terrors of your divine anger into remedies of human salvation, so that those who are of earth and shall return to earth may rejoice by your preservation at becoming citizens of heaven. Through our Lord Jesus Christ . . .)
Postcommunio. Tuere nos, Domine, quaesumus, tua sancta sumentes: et terram, quam vidimus nostris iniquitatibus trementem, superno munere firma; ut mortalium corda cognoscant, et te indignante talia flagella prodire, et te miserante cessare. Per Dominum. (Postcommunio. We beseech you, Lord, protect us who receive your sacraments, and by your gift from above make firm the earth we have seen trembling because of our iniquities, so that the hearts of mortals may realize that such scourges go forth when you are offended, and cease when you have mercy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ . . . )
Commentary: Yes, we know that we cannot normally make a one-to-one correspondence between a natural disaster and the sinfulness of its victims. As Our Lord said, It was not because this man sinned, or his parents, that he was born blind. However, it was the loss of original justice and innocence by the sin of our first parents, in whom we were all virtually contained, which incurred our loss of immunity from the forces of God’s universe. And this is only just, for on account of original sin and all our actual sins and spiritual neglect, the creation itself “was made subject to vanity” and “the servitude of corruption” (Romans 8). God never intended that his pure creatures of animal, plant and mineral nature should share the universe with our sin, and so because humanity in Adam has neglected God, God “neglects” to warn us when we get in the way of natural forces, but only so that we may recognize that everything is His, not ours, and turn to Him with faith and adoration, so as to be saved in eternity.
(Post and commentary by contributor Bonetus.)