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
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.http://www.laughtergenealogy.com/bin/histprof/misc/italy.html
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) http://www.cyberhymnal.org/bio/s/t/r/strodach_pz.htm
The Ancient Collect: Its history and form