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The Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity

Direct our hearts, we beseech thee, O Lord, by the operation of thy mercy; for as much as without thee, we are not able to please thee; through our Lord . Amen

Job xxiv. 1, Ephesians iv. 17   &   St. Matthew ix. 1
Psalm cxivcxv | cvii 


The collect this Sunday is to be found in the Sacramentary of Galsius in the late 5th century. The English adapted it from the Salisbury missal for their first prayer book with some rearranging and additions in 1549 and again in 1662.  

In it's original form it begins 

Direct our hearts, we beseech thee, O Lord,
(Dirigal corda nostra, quaesumus, Domine).  

We can find biblical passages where this form of petition for direction is sought, and which carry the idea of God's action and operation. From the Old Testament we have these passages.

Pr 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall DIRECT thy paths. 
The Hebrew here is Yashar, in the sense of to lead, direct, lead straight along 
Ps 119:5 O that my ways were DIRECTED to keep thy statutes! 
Pr 16:9 A man's heart deviseth his way: but the LORD DIRECTETH his steps. 

The Hebrew word Kuwn (koon), with the meaning of to be directed aright, be fixed aright, be steadfast (in a moral sense) is used here.

New Testament

1th 3:11 Now God himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, DIRECT our way unto you. 
2th 3:5 And the Lord DIRECT your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. 

In both of these NT passages, the Greek "Kateuthuno" (kat-yoo-thoo'-no); to make straight, guide, direct 

God's direction is righteous. Following the prompting of God means doing what is right-as God has defined right. This involves, on our behalf, several things: first is trusting in God to direct us to that right, second is listening to him by being alert to God's will, and next,  discerning the voice of  God through his Holy Spirit, and being cautious and weary of other voices that are not of God-or which we are not sure are of the Spirit; and finally, actually going where God directs us.

The challenge of hearing, knowing, and doing, is at the center of a major controversy in some portions of the church nowadays.  There are so many voices claiming that the Spirit is guiding the church in this new way and that, yet often times it is completely opposite what scripture and tradition have always taught, everywhere.  So, is God directing us to sanction and bless abortion and infanticide? What about adultery and fornication? What about blasphemy and idolatry? How about experimenting with living fetus' and destroying them for research?  What about encouraging every diverse belief, or welcoming into fellowship those who refute the lordship of Christ and refuse his sovereign and unique role as Savior (Matt vii. 6).   How about hijacking and abusing the ideas of "Peace" and "Justice" to further ones social and political ideas in the name of God? How about placing his created order on the altar in worship?  How about act that degrade the institution of Holy Matrimony? 

 Yes, there are those who claim that all these evils are directed today by God through the Spirit. Yet there is another strong voice that has been raised up against these errors, and has called the church to withdraw from these foolish folk who have refused to return to God's teaching. This is the voice of orthodoxy.

Do you dare to refute this new wind that blows so forcefully as being the direction of God? If so, you may be slandered and accused by these prophets of change as being small, mean, and cruel; dismissed as a fool; of having a psychological illness (various phobia they claim); (as one centurion related this week) of unlawfully "judging" your brethren; of being a "Fundie" (fundamentalist), and loosing your  job, friends, and fellowship.  

Beware my friends. Look, listen, and discern when God is guiding by his spirit, or when it is man and the spirit of this age that is raging, or worse. Protect and defend the faith and count it all to profit when you are scandalized and accused by these heretics, for your reward will be in heaven (Matt v. 11)

The prayer continues: 

"by the operation of thy mercy"
(tuae miserationis operatio) 

The cause of this directing is not our will but rather his mercy.  God is merciful to his own, and will answer their prayers through his mercy to the prompting and guiding his sheep in their way. He gives to them his Holy Spirit, whose role it is to guide the saints unto all goodness and righteousness.  Conversely, some who are vile and rebellious will never know the fruits of his mercy;  rather he gives them over to their own folly so that they fall  more and more into their error (Ro. 1:28-29)

Finally, the collect concludes with

for as much as without thee, we are not able to please thee; 
(quia tibi sine te placere non pussumus)

What? Does this really say we cannot please God without him working in us.  Indeed it does. So much for Pelagianism. The doctrines of the open church which affirm every religion from every quarter as sacred and worthy of salvation is exposed as folly. The heretics who tell us to open our altars to accept the pagan as an act of charity and gracious hospitality showing our inclusive spirit are exposed. Yet, it is clear that the ancient prayer warns us that those who reject God: Father, Son and Holy Ghost, shall never be able to please him.

Through our Lord. Amen
(per Dominum) 


Released by Primus Pilus
Legio Christi-Ecclesia Militans
"Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another" [St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 14:19]


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