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The Fourth Sunday after Trinity MMXII

Grant us, O Lord our God, that the course of this world may be so peaceably ordered and directed, that thy church may rejoice in tranquil devotion of thee, through...

Da nobis, Domine Deus noster, ut et mundi cursus pacifice nobis tuo ordine dirigatur, et ecclesia tua tranquilla devotione laetetur, per
Leonine Sacramentally 

Introit: the Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear
Ps: Though an host should encamp against me
Epistle: Roman 8:18-23 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. 
Gradual: Forgive our sins O Lord
Gospel:  Luke 6:36-42. Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father in heaven also is merciful. 

This short collect is one of the oldest in the collection we shall review (Leo's of 440-461)  and it may well predate the Leonine collection of prayers.

Secular history teaches us of the invasion of the Vandals and Huns at this time. Leo, in defense of Rome, rode out to parle with Attila the Hun and his entreaty saved the city from rout-- likely through the intercession of the Holy Spirit and the fear of God's wrath.

Our collect begins with the petition that God would so order the course (events) of the world in peace.  This petition is likely one of the most voiced of any we have yet encountered. Millions of people in the 20th century went to their rest for years praying for world peace. First it was the Great War to end all wars. Then only 20 years later the beginning of World War II under the Evil Axis leaders. Next the long Cold War with its hot spots. Wars of genocides dotted the globe. 

Next is the result of that petition. We affirm that when we have peace in our time, the church may then with joy focus its devotions more fully and perfectly on the worship of and devotion to God in tranqility. 

I am reminded of evening prayer in the Anglican tradition. In the American 1928 service in the sufferages the minister says "give peace in our time O Lord" and the people reply "for is thou only Lord that makest us dwell in peace". In the English version the folk answer, "Because there is none other that fighteth for us, but only thou, O God.". The latter response more closely aligns with what the people of Leo's day held to be the case -- that God had given to Attila the image of Peter, through the suggestion of Leo,  wielding the sword of defense. God had swayed the King of the Huns by the hand of his militant saint -- whose hand was stayed again for a time to come. 

We also pray that God would likewise dispatch those pagans who have declared an un-holy war against his Church in this present age, and grant us peace. 

Semper Militans et Vigilans


An homily of Abrose that touches on the epistle and today's collect


(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



Third Sunday after Trinity MMXII

O GOD, the protector of all who trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong and nothing is holy; multiply upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler, we may so pass through good things temporal, so as to lose not the eternal. Through our Lord.

( note this collect form is used in the 4th Sunday in the 1928 BCP but on the 3rd in the Lutheran book )


Protector in te sperantium Deus, sine quo nihil est validum, nihil sanctum, multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam, ut te rectare, te duce sic transeamus per bona temporalia, ut non amittamua aeterna, per Dnm.
Gelasian Sacramentary

Introit: Turn thee unto me and have mercy upon me
Ps: Unto thee O Lord do I lift up my soul
Epistle: 1 Peter 5:6-11.  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God. 
Gradual: Cast thy burden upon the Lord
Gospel:  Luke 15:1-10. Then drew near to him all the publicans and sinners

This collect contains yet another small confession of a different aspect of God's glorious attributes this Sunday.  The first Sunday it was his strength given to us.  Last Sunday his steering of his people. This Sunday we confess him as our protector and the very source of our holiness. 

In acknowledging these attributes, we ask more and more of his mercy and grace in our lives. As we sojourn in this wilderness seeking our real home we humbly beg his constant leadership so as to help us navigate through all the good material things,  so that we may gain the eternal good of everlasting felicity in his kingdom

"Pass through" is how this prayer presents this petition. There are so many who do not make it. They find the good material things in this life and build their faith and hope around them to the loss of their soul. David in the psalms warned against the folly of princes who put their trust in temporal wealth and strength -- and the wisdom of the humble who,  on the other hand, fully acknowledged and relied on God. 

Our success is dependent on our vision and focus. CS Lewis put it this way, "Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither." 

There are good things God has made for all men. Some are fortunate to enjoy an abundance of the good he has placed here,  but when those things displace God, then men become shallow,  perverted, hypocritical, and blind to the love of God for the love of the created.  Material worship is a most deceptive form of idolatry; man cannot serve God and manna. 

The Good News is that God answers this little prayer.   He rules his own and protects them from temptation and weakness.   He gives holy strength to them so they may navigate under his guiding hand. If they should become temporarily diverted, he disciplines them and guides them through the material temptations of this present world to finally come into his joy. 


An homily of Abrose that touches on the epistle and today's collect


(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


Second Sunday after Trinity MMXII

Lord, make us to have concurrently a perpetual fear and love of thy holy name; for thou never leavest destitute of thy pilotage those whom thou dost discipline in the steadfastness of thy love. Through...

Sancti nominis tu, Domine, timorem pariter et amorem fac nos habere perpetuum: quia nunquam tua gubernatione destituis, quos in soliditate tuae dilectionis instituis, Per
Galatian Sacrementary as given by Muratori (590)

Introit: The Lord was my stay, he brought me forth also into large place
Ps: I will love the O Lord, my strength
Epistle: 1 John 3:13-18  Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate ye
Gradual: In my distress, I cried unto the Lord and he heard me
Gospel:  Luke  14:16-24  The he said unto him, A certain man made a great supper..

God is my Pilot, my Helmsman

In the original translation of the book of common prayer of 1549 Cranmer used the term "to bring up" for discipline, and the phrases were rearranged somewhat and sense changed somewhat. The English added more items to the prayer in 1661.  

The Latin begins with the petition "Make us", and then the attribute recognizes the fact that God does indeed "bring up" or instruct those whom he loves to fear and love his holy name.  There is never a time when he will not be faithful to his elect.  His protection is his oath.

Note that 'pilot or pilotage" is the sense of the translation. It is not to "help" as later translations added, but rather to steer (direct) as a helmsman does a ship, or a pilot his glider.  The ship is not allowed to drift aimlessly here and there, nor the glider to follow the wind, but rather there is a determined will to pilot each to its destination in the midst of these currents. 

One may look at this in terms of what we call Providence or Destiny.  Often in answer to prayer or need known to God, he will have us and others to come into situations and interact with people and events that are of his specific choosing for our discipline and welfare.  

We may find this expressed concisely in scripture in, "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose" [Romans 8:28]. 

Meanwhile, we grow year by year in love and fear of our Lord as he brings us up as does a loving mother her children. I would think most readers who know the Lord may look back on their experience and clearly see a time when their respect and love of God was not what it is today and recognize and hope it will be even more tomorrow.  There was a sense of this continual growth and love of God in the lyrics of "Day by Day" in the musical Godspell and taken from the prayer of Richard, Bishop of Chichester from the 13th Century.

Thanks be to thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits Thou hast given me, for all the pains and insults thou hast borne for me. O most merciful redeemer, friend and brother, may I know thee more clearly, love thee more dearly and follow thee more nearly, day by day.

An homily of Augustine on the epistle


Portions paraphrased from The Collects of the Day by Edward Goulburn
The Ancient Collect: Its history and form



First Sunday after Trinity MMXII

 O God, the strength of those who trust in thee, mercifully hear our prayers; grant us the assistance of thy grace, that in the execution of thy commands, and the action of the will, we may please thee, through...

Deus, in te sperantium fortitudo, adesto propitius invocationibus nostris; praesta auxilium gratiae tuae: ut in exequendis mandatis tuis et voluntate tibi et actione placeamus, per. 
Gelasian Sacramentally 

Introit: I Lord I have trusted in thy mercy...
Ps: How long wilt thou forget me...
Epistle: 1 John 4:16-21 God is love...
Gradual: I said, Lord be merciful unto me...
Gospel:  Like 16:19-31 There was a certain rich man...

We are entering the long season of Trinity in which we will remain until the First Sunday in Advent and we will have completed the church year and this series of collect studies. Not all churches mark the season based on Trinity, and indeed the ancient church did not as we learned last week. For some this is known as the Second Sunday after Pentecost. 

Our ancient collect begins,  

O God, the strength of those who trust in thee

One may be reminded of David in the psalms who often praises the strength of God. For instance 

"The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower." (Ps 18:2)

As we progress through these ancient prayers we see how the early church ministers  incorporated scripture into the prayers 

next the petition

mercifully hear our prayers; 

First, in mercy, deign to hear our prayers. Those who approach prayer with a hauty attitude are likened to the Pharisee who in the Temple criticized the miserable sinner. His prayer was perverted and rejected. One of the first lessons the Holy Spirit conveys to the elect is, I believe, humility before God. Humbleness in prayer is a sure sign. Those who believe they have no need to beg God's mercy are none of his.  We may remember Mary's song "For he hath put down the mighty from their seat and hath exalted the humble and meek." Let us not forget the fate of Dives (rich-man) in the Gospel parable. 

"grant us the assistance of thy grace, that in the execution of thy commands, and the action of the will, we may please thee, through..."

I read of one denomination recently whose committee published a new statement of what they believed. In it they rejected the doctrine that the sin of Adam affects us and our ability to obey all that God has ordered. This denomination claims to be Bible-based, but what saith Scripture?
"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." (Romans 5)

The little prayer has it right. It is by God's grace and gift that we may even begin to desire freedom from the bondage of the will to sin and the desires of this world, and it is through his strength working in us that this desire  leads to effectual obedience.

Laus Deo Semper

An homily of Chrysostom on the third part of the epistle and God's amazing grace in that he loved us first and thereby gave to us the desire to love him.


(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


Trinity Sunday MMXII

Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto thy servants, in the confession of a true Faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity,  and in the might of majesty to adore the Unity; we beseech thee that we may be defended by the constancy of that same Faith from all adversaries.  Through... 
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui dedisti famulis tuis in confessione verae Fidei, aeternae Trinitatis gloriam agnoscere, et in potentia maiestatis adorate Unitatem; quaesumus, et ejusdem Fidei firmitate ab omnibus muniamur adversi per. 
Gregorian Sacramentary 

Introit: Blessed be the Holy Trinity and the undivided Unity
Ps: O Lord, our Lord: how excellent is thy name.  
Epistle: Roman 11: 33-36.  O the depth of riches...
Gradual: Blessed art thou O Lord who beholdest the deep
Gospel:  John 3: 1-15. There was a man of the Pharisees... 

 This day marks the Feast of the Holy Trinity. There is a defining mark of catholicism  in the worship of the Trinity in Unity.   Its location on our calendar is significant as it directly follows the most important events that we celebrate: Resurrection, Ascension, and Whitsun-day

It differs from the historical events on the calendar as it is in recognition of a universal doctrine.

Thomas Becket was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury on this Sunday, and his first official act was to set it aside for a new festival of the Holy Trinity. This feast was not accepted into the western church fully until 1332. This day was, and is in fact, the Octave of Pentecost.  Originally it had propers related to Pentecost.   The Gospel we have set before us today is a vestige of the Pentecost Octave.

There was a Trinity type of office used on Sundays in the early church to counter the Arian controversy with canticles, responses, a preface, and hymns. One Trinity hymn which continues this day as a creed is the Quicunque vult from the 5th century (likely by Hilary)

Now on to the collect:

"Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto thy servants in the confession of a true Faith to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity,  and in the might of majesty to adore the Unity; "

The "true faith" is that which  we have confessed from the earliest days of the Church and which is in scripture, the baptismal covenant, and the creeds. 

" we beseech thee that we may be defended by the constancy of that same Faith from all adversaries. "

Next follows the petition--we ask that by constant fidelity to the true Faith confessed above, that we may be defended from all adversity

The Gospel bears witness to Trinity in the words of the Lord to Nicodemus. It is only through the Holy Spirit that a man may be regenerated and reconciled to the Father through the Son. Our Lord said, "We speak that which we know":  is not that collective "We" indeed the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost?

An homily of Hilary on the Trinity


(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