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Circumcision - Collect Study - MMXI

The Feast of the Circumcision - Octave of Christmas


The Collect


Almighty God, whose only-begotten this day  received the circumcision of the body (that the law not  pay that which had come to fulfill): Grant spiritual circumcision which has an incentive to cleanse your minds from all vices, and may he pour upon you a blessing.  Amen.

Latin original Collect:


Omnipotens Deus, cujus unigenitus hodierna die, ne legem solverent, quam adimplere venerat, corporalem suscepit circumcisionem: spiritali circumcisione mentes vestras ab omnibus vitiorum incentivis expurget, et suam in vos infundat benedictionem. Amen .

--  Gregorian Sacramentary


Introit: O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name...

Epistle: Galatians 3:23ff   But before faith came, we were kept under the law…

Gradual.  All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God…

Gospel :Luke 2:21ff  And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising …


See it all here


I took the liberty of crafting a rough translation of the Latin in order to bring it closer to its original as I understand it. One will note the collect as it departs from the normal form; it has no doxology, but rather ends in a benediction. 


This is the Octave of the Nativity and the Feast the Circumcision… sometimes also known in these later days by some as the Holy Name of Jesus.  It falls on what is to us reckoned the "New Year".  That was not the case many centuries ago. The Medieval Church, even up until the time of the Reformation, was celebrating new years on the Feast of the Annunciation – 25 March. 


This feast takes precedence over the collect appointed for the First Sunday after Christmas, and so when Christmas falls on a Sunday, it is followed the next Sunday with the Feast of the Circumcision – a feast of our Lord. 


The Circumcision is important to us in that it reminds us that our Lord was a Jew who met every valid command.  "And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant."


Many of the things that our Lord did in obedience to the Jewish code, he did for our sake, as an example. That is what the collect teaches in its attributes section  Christ humbled himself unto the law for man, was sinless, observant of the whole law, that he might become Law unto us.  "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth"

The Circumcision was of course limited to males, and marked the rite of recognition that a man-child was a benefactor of the Covenant. Through a man, his female kin were reckoned to be of the Covenant.  Many hold that Christ instituted Baptism as the sign of the New Covenant in his Great Commission recorded in Matthew -- for both male and female, Jew and Gentile:  " Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost"





There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. 

Merry Christmas!




(Portions were paraphrased and passages cited from The Collect of the Day, by Paul Zeller Strodach, 1939, The United Lutheran Press, Philadelphia)


The Ancient Collect: Its history and form


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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