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I’m trying to translate “Blessed be God who calls us His children.”

Thank you so much for any help you might have.

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2 Answers 2

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Either :

benedictus Deus qui nominat nos filios suos

benedictus Deus qui vocat nos filios suos

Nominare means to call as in to name or give a name to, as well as to nominate, appoint. Vocare means to call as in to summon, but also to name or designate. Both verbs are used in the Vulgate to speak of God calling people ‘sons of God’. For example:

videte qualem caritatem dedit nobis Pater ut filii Dei nominemur … (1 John 3:1a)

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! … (NIV)

… ibi vocabuntur filii Dei vivi (Rom. 9:26b)

… there they will be called 'children of the living God.' (NIV)

Note that the Vulgate uses filii (which, strictly speaking, means ‘sons’) in both of the above verses. In the Greek, Romans 9:26 (actually a quotation of Hosea 1:10) also has ‘sons’ (υἱοι), probably under the influence of the Hebrew it is quoting (or more properly, the LXX which is translating the Hebrew).

But 1 John 3:1 uses the broader term τεκνα (‘children, male and/or female’) (so too, Rom. 8:16-17, 21, 9:8; Gal. 4:28; Eph. 5:1, 8; Phil 2:15; 1 John 3:2, 10, 5:2). I think, therefore, you could perhaps use a similarly neuter Latin term, perhaps liberos, instead of filii, if you preferred.

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  • Thank you so much!
    – ajm
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 12:55
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    Shouldn't it be filios in both of your suggestions? The examples you quote are passive but the suggestions are active. Otherwise I agree completely.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 13:41
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    @JoonasIlmavirta Yes, thank you - I've changed it. I'm a bit out of practice after such a long break and wasn't paying attention.
    – Penelope
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 13:52
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    @user11149 I made a mistake in the translation - it should be filios, not filii. If you use the alternative, it would be liberos. I just wanted to bring it to your attention.
    – Penelope
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 13:57
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Complementing Penelope's excellent answer, another well known passage in the New Testament bringing up the topic is the beginning of the Gospel of John, namely John 1:11-13.

In propria venit, et sui eum non receperunt. Quotquot autem acceperunt eum, dedit eis potestatem filios Dei fieri, his, qui credunt in nomine eius, qui non ex sanguinibus neque ex voluntate carnis neque ex voluntate viri, sed ex Deo nati sunt.

He came to his own and his own people did not accept him. But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believed in his name who were born not from human stock or human desire or human will but from God himself

With this, and the acclamation benedictus Deus in sæcula (blessed be God forever,) which is very common in liturgy, one could build something that sounds very familiar in the line of

benedictus Deus qui dedit nobis potestatem filios Dei fieri
blessed be the God, who gave us power to become children of God

Whether this redundancy is justified for the emphasis or not, I think is arguable. Anyway, you could go for: benedictus Ipse qui dedit nobis potestatem filios Dei fieri. Ipse meaning an emphatic He/Himself which in turn opens the blessing more to God the Son, to whom redemption is especially attributed. 'God' by itself is more easily read as God the Father (especially in the context of children of God) or the whole Holy Trinity.

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    Thank you so much. You guys are great. I just found this site and will be sticking around here for awhile I think. I really want to learn Ecclesiastical Latin.
    – ajm
    Commented May 30, 2022 at 13:55

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