Have You Not Been Placed in My Lap?


Even the most retro, technology-hating, breviary lover will want to set aside the aesthetic delights of their printed prayer book, in favor of the virtual one, for December 12th’s Office of Readings.  This, after all, is the only way to see the second reading for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which does not appear in our 1976 edition breviaries.


The reading consists of the 15th century account of the apparition to St. Juan Diego. Our Lady’s words to him are beautiful:

“Listen and understand, my humblest son. There is nothing to frighten and distress you. Do not let your heart be troubled, and let nothing upset you. Is it not I, your Mother, who is here? Are you not under my protection? Are you not, fortunately, in my care?  

I also have the Kenyan breviary, in which this account has a somewhat different and longer version. Here, the above paragraph is translated thus:

Listen, beloved son,fear not and stop worrying.Am I not here, your Mother?Have you not been placed directly under my shadow and protection? Am I not the source of your lie and happiness? Have you not been placed in my lap, in my arms? What else do you need?

Although there is no way for us to tell which translation is really the most accurate, that phrase “in my lap, in my arms” so  sweetly reflects  the love of our heavenly Mother, that I’ll put my money on the Kenyan version.

Daria Sockey


Daria Sockey is a freelance writer from western Pennsylvania. Her articles have appeared in many Catholic publications. She authored several of the original Ignatius Press Faith and Life catechisms in the 1980s, and more recently wrote five study guides for saints' lives DVDs distributed by Ignatius Press. She now writes regularly for the newly revamped Catholic Digest. Her newest book, The Everyday Catholic's Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours, will be published by Servant Books this spring. Feel Free to email her at thesockeys@gmail.com

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  • The Kenyan version sounds a lot like our older, traditional prayers; the modern translations have been stripped of everything that the translators think is too “wordy” or “saccharine,” leaving us with truly inane-sounding…somethings…that are pretending really hard to be prayers. I’ll take the Kenyan one, please. ;D

  • chaco

    I was comparing “the faithful” to someone whom a bully sizes up before deciding to bully them. Everyone has probably heard a “Yo Mama” joke; implying that picking on one’s mama is a very sensitive issue. I feel for our protestant bretheren who may have “skills” but are lacking in ‘the edge” which makes the bully run in terror; Our Mama. God does not take kindly to anyone offending His Mama. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned ( one whose child has been harmed).

  • The virtual Office of Readings linked from the CE website doesn’t have the OLG prayer, either. Can you send me the name of a site which does – one that is suitable for computer, and not a cellphone?

  • Daria Sockey

    Well, our bishops just decided to revise the breviary. It will take a few years, but hopefully we’ll eventually get some better translations.