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St. Paul of Tarsus, Patron of the Garrulous and Verbose, Pray for Me!

Most people, when they read this prayer:

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe, according to the working of his great might which he accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead and made him sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come; and he has put all things under his feet and has made him the head over all things for the Church, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:15-23)

…see profound theology, spiritual depth, deep love, and glorious revelation from a great saint.

Those of us in the writing trade see a single massive run-on sentence stapled together with more commas than the Titanic had rivets.  It gives those of us with a penchant for wordiness hope that there is a place in Heaven even for us.

  • Maggie Goff

    Thanks, Mark. I just had such a fit of laughter that I’ll never get to sleep now. You just come out with the craziest stuff. ;)

  • Marthe Lépine

    Could it just be a bad translation?

    • Fr. Denis Lemieux

      Nope! The Greek is one big long sentence. Fun!

  • Kathy

    I have the exact same reaction. It’s really a distraction at Mass.

  • Heather

    Those of us who have to read sentences such at this out loud at Mass notice it too.

    I feel the same way about some of the prayers in the new translation too, particularly the Collects. They are majestic, certainly, but sometimes they feel like someone forgot to actually turn them into real English sentences after they translated all the Latin words. Our sentence structure just doesn’t work quite the same way Latin does so you end up with the occasional doozy that you have to read three times just to parse, never mind appreciating the rich theology.

    Sometimes I feel like shouting “Too many commas on the field! You are hereby docked three subclauses!”

  • Alma Peregrina

    St. Paul was a great saint and a great theologian, but his writing (let me tell you) is so confusing and disorganized, that is exasperating. Let’s remember Paul killed a teen with boredom… literally (of course God resurrected him, but still…)

  • Bill Burns

    It’s the longest sentence in the Greek New Testament, according to Scott Hahn, if I am not mistaken.

  • Rebecca Fuentes

    Thank God I’m not the only one. No one can write a run-on sentence like St. Paul.

  • Kelly Reineke

    I have a burning desire to diagram that sentence.

    2 Peter 3:16 admits Paul is hard to understand!

  • SteveP

    “I am” is a never ending story; what is a run-on sentence in that Light? ;-)

  • Mark S. (not for Shea)

    St. Paul was one of the most brilliant theologians ever. And one of the worst writers. I read his epistle to the Galatians this morning. Wonderful, profound theology. Terrible writing. I used to think that perhaps we just lose a lot in translation. But St. John manages an elegant poetry, and even St. Peter manages nice, simple, understandable sentences.

  • Ken Crawford

    Lectors see the same problem… St. Paul is very hard to read from the Ambo.


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