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Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity MMXII

Grant unto us, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy people to avoid the contagion of the devil, and to only follow the Lord with a pure heart, through 

 Da, quasumus Domine, populo tuo diabolica vitare contagia et te solum Dominum puro corde sectari, per
[Gelasian Sacramentary]

Introit:  Righteous art thou O Lord ...
Ps: Blessed are the undefiled in the way ...
Epistle:   Ephesians 4:1-6 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord...
Gradual: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord...
Gospel: Luke 14:1-11  And it came to pass, as he went into the house...

Original English: "LORDE we beseche thee, graunt thy people grace to avoyde the infeccions of the Devil, and with pure harte and mynde to folowe thee the onelye God; Through Jesus Christ our Lorde.

If this generation ever needed a prayer today, given all that assails us, this is the one.  Some have called this Post Modern Christianity.  It has resulted in a epidemic of "Bad Religion" as the author of a book by the same title proposes in Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics.    We are assailed by a culture that is very often alien and adverse to orthodox faithful.  We are assailed by profiteers who use the popular media to spew a popular but false Gospel for gain.  

The later 1662 version of the prayer book added "the world and the flesh" in the prayer. This is the same as in the Lutheran traditional service book.  It may be that the revisers used the Litany verse of 1544 as a basis for the additions: "From all the deceits of the world, the flesh and devil, Good Lord, deliver us."

The source of Evil is the Devil.  He works against  people. The only source of Good is God. The Devil is crafty. He often masks his evil to appear as good and pleasing.  Jesus was visited with this craftiness, but he resisted and quoted a key scripture in his defense: "Him only shalt thou serve"  Yet the inclusion of the "world and flesh" is quite appropriate by the 1662 revisers, for the Devil's dominion is the "world".  Jesus said, "the prince of this world is judged".  We also recognize that the fruits of the Devil's labors are manifested in the flesh. We know that the the "spirit is willing but the flesh is weak"  We do succumb to his temptations. We are only human! God help us!

The second petition is that we might follow God with a pure heart. This is a sure and tested way to fend off the wiles of the Devil. If we are focused on following in the footsteps of our Lord, and serving God, we may avoid the temptations that plague the world.  What did our Lord pray for his disciples? "I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."

Paul wrote to the Romans: "Be not conformed to this world: but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

Homily--Chrysostom on the Epistle

(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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