Total Pageviews


The First Sunday in Lent - Quadragesima MMXII

O Lord, mercifully hear our prayer, and stretch forth the right hand of thy majesty to defend us from them that rise up against us; through our Lord..
Latin original Collect:

Preces nostras, quaesumus Domine, clementer exaudi, et contra cuncta nobis adversantia dexteram tuae maiestatis extende; per Dominum 
--Gelesian Sacramentary

Introit: He shall call upon me, and I will answer him.
Ps: He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High.
Epistle: 2 Corinthians 6:1-10.  We then, as workers together
Gradual: For he shall give his angles charge over thee,
Gospel: Matt 4:1-11.  Then was Jesus led up of the spirit   

See it all here

Another rendering, 
Our prayers, we beseech thee O Lord, graciously hear; and against all our adversaries stretch forth the right hand of thy majesty; through the Lord

Hear our prayer.

Preces nostras, quaesumus Domine, clementer exaudi

[Our prayers, O Lord, mercifully hear]

It is not uncommon in prayer to say: "Hear our prayer O Lord". Consider Psalm 39, "Hear my prayer, O LORD, and give ear unto my cry [Psalm 39:12].  In the litanies of prayer in liturgical worship the folk often repeat, "Lord, in thy mercy, hear our prayer", or other similar petition.

God is indeed merciful to hear the call of his elect.  He anticipates and appreciates this form of communion.  He has called upon his people to come humbly and with a contrite heart to his seat of mercy to present their supplications and petitions.  Paul wrote "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God" [Philippians 4:6].

Psalm 51, which we normally rehearse on the first day of Lent, is a model for humble prayer.  David wrote, "The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise" [Psalm 51:17].

God, however, turns from those whose plea is false and haughty.  Their conduct demonstrates they are not subject to his holy authority.  They are in denial or open rebellion.  Be not of that number.  As Paul wrote to the Corinthians in today's epistle, "We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that you receive not the grace of God in vain" [2 Corinthians 6:1]. 

There are those who have entered into his God's holy sanctuary as thieves.  They stand in prayer with obedient Christians, but they are the Children of Satan.  They never turn from their sin. God despises their solemnities and salutations.  They ignore God's law in favor of the world's rules.  They disgrace his word by twisting it and attempting to deceive the elect and just (if that were possible) [Matthew 24:24].  Like Satan in the Wilderness, they concoct temptations while falsely citing Scripture with great evil craft [Matthew 4:1-11].  They may claim the title Christian, but they are a Brood of Vipers whose worship is suited for the Synagogue of Satan.  God shall not suffer them, "For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?" [1 Peter 4:17]. 

Hear also what Paul wrote in Hebrews, "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened [catechumens], and have tasted of the heavenly gift [Body and Blood of Christ in Holy Communion], and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost [Baptized], And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame" [Hebrews 6:4-6].

Then what shall we say to these thieves?  In the Gospel appointed for today, Jesus dispatched Satan with a word: "Get the hence, Satan" [Matthew 4:10].

Let us also remember the word of God spoken unto Jeremiah, "Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them: for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble" [Jeremiah 11:14].

O God, protect us.

et contra cuncta nobis adversantia dexteram tuae maiestatis extende;

[And against all of our adversaries, stretch forth thy majestic right arm]

This is surely an imprecatory petition.  It follows the form often used by David in his prayer, "Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight…Send thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children" [Psalm 144:1-7].

The collect qualifies our petition by establishing the nature and character of God.  It is his "Right" arm (dexteram), which is righteous and just.  It is his "Majestic" arm, with power coming forth from the Sovereign Lord.  

Did the Lord Jesus ever used his "right arm" against an adversary?  Yes indeed!  Consider the night of his arrest: "As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground" [John 18:6].  At Nazareth, he defended himself in a mysterious way by passing through the midst of his assailants [Luke 4:28-30].  At Jerusalem before his Pascal Feast, he cleansed the Temple of evildoers [Mark 11:15-18].  Before Pilate, he intimated such power when he said his Father could send twelve legions of angels for his defense [Matthew 26:53].

God Almighty chooses the times and places that he will stretch forth his right arm, but be assured he has done so and will do so again according to prophesy and his promise: "I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True.  With justice he judges and makes war." [Revelation 19-11]

Maranatha." Come Lord Jesus. Amen [1 Corinthians 16:22].

Semper Fidelis -- Semper Vigilans -- Semper Paratus


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

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]


No comments: