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First Sunday of Advent - 2013

This year I will be taking the weekly Collects from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. I will post the readings, along with any rubrics, under the Collect. And then I will be quoting some meditative thoughts from a work by Peter Toon at  On occasion I may also append some personal observations along with those of some of the earlier Church fathers.

The First Sunday of Advent.
Psalm 1
Beatus vir, qui non abiit, &c.
1. BLESSED is the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stood in the way of sinners : and hath not sat in the seat of the scornful.
2. But his delight is in the law of the Lord : and in his law will he exercise himself day and night.
3. And he shall be like a tree planted by the water-side : that will bring forth his fruit in due season.
4. His leaf also shall not wither : and look, whatsoever he doeth, it shall prosper.
5. As for the ungodly, it is not so with them : but they are like the chaff, which the wind scattereth away from the face of the earth.
6. Therefore the ungodly shall not be able to stand in the judgement : neither the sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
7. But the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous : and the way of the ungodly shall perish.

The Collect.
ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

[This Collect is to be repeated every day, with the other Collects in Advent, until Christmas-Eve.]

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 28.14-22
Psalter: Morning-8, 50; Evening-96, 97
Epistle Reading: Romans 13.8-14
Gospel Reading: 21.1-13

Toon: “This beautiful and moving prayer was written specifically for The Book of the Common Prayer (1549) by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer. Its structure, style and contents reveal just how perfectly he had mastered in English the grammatical structure of the traditional Latin Collects. It is a most appropriate prayer with which to begin the Christian Year for it is addressed to the Father, Almighty God, is centered upon the Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, and looks for the direct help in daily living of the Spirit of the Father and the Son (the Holy Ghost). And it takes specific guidance and inspiration from the Epistle.
Here in remembrance before Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we remember both (i) the Advent/Coming of the Only-Begotten Son when he humbled himself, took to himself our human nature and was born from the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Bethlehem, and (ii) the future Advent/Coming of the same Son as the Lord of lords and King of kings to earth at the end the age in great glory, to raise the dead and to judge the peoples, and to inaugurate the kingdom of God.

As baptized believers, living in a world darkened by evil and sin, but given Light by Jesus Christ who is the Light of the world, we ask for the personal help of the Father, through the Holy Ghost, in order to live not as children of darkness but rather as children of light. Indeed, we pray to be protected by the armour of light (see Romans 13:12). When Christ Jesus returns to earth in his Second Coming he will dispel all shadows and darkness, clear up all doubts, chase away all sorrows and cause the new dawn of the new day of the new age to appear. Then we shall cast off our sleeping apparel and put on the shining dress of the kingdom of God, as we are raised to the life immortal.

Prayed each day at Morning and Evening Prayer and whenever the Lord’s Supper is celebrated during the four weeks of Advent, this Collect is a real means of grace whereby we prepare rightly during the four weeks of Advent to celebrate the Incarnation at Christmas and the Epiphany a little later.

In some forms of churchmanship Advent is regarded as a time of penitence, a kind of short Lent. Such may be based upon the words cast away the works of darkness, which requires not only effort (assisted by divine grace) but self- examination to become aware of sin and darkness in the heart, mind and soul. Further, the theme of the Second Advent calls forth from the people of God, fasting and prayer as they watch and pray.

Let us make full use of it and pray its words with appropriate piety and reverence” (


Thanksgiving Day (USA) - 2013

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in the USA. On the Order's website you will find the Collects, readings, and homily for the day.

For another Thanksgiving "homily" see my article on my blog, A Right Proper Thanksgiving.

O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever (Psalm 136.1).

Primus Pilus II


Sunday next before Advent and St. Andrew's Day - 2013

The Sunday next before Advent.
Psalm 127
Nisi Dominus
1. EXCEPT the Lord build the house : their labour is but lost that build it.
2. Except the Lord keep the city : the watchman waketh but in vain.
3. It is but lost labour that ye haste to rise up early, and so late take rest, and eat the bread of carefulness : for so he giveth his beloved sleep.
4. Lo, children and the fruit of the womb : are an heritage and gift that cometh of the Lord.
5. Like as the arrows in the hand of the giant : even so are the young children.
6. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them : they shall not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.

The Collect.
STIR up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Jeremiah 23.5-8
Psalter: Psalm 146, 147 | 148, 149, 150
Epistle Reading: (Ephesians 2.1-10)
Gospel Reading: St. John 6.1-14

Barbee and Zahl: “This famous Collect, ( . . . ) is a memorable summary of all that has gone before. ( . . . ) The will needs to be stirred. I need to be animated! Something needs to fire up my desire to act. I need inspiration. God, here, is implored to give our wills inspiration. Once inspired, we shall bring forth “the fruit of good works.”  ( . . . ) Stirred by the apprehension of being loved, the will brings forth the works of love. The consequence of such love that creates love is “plenteous rewarded.” This is the Gospel order: the love of Christ to needy sinners; the animating (or better, reanimating) effect of that love; the fruit of ethical loving which springs from the reanimated will; and the reward of that love-from-love, which is partial here and now and total in heaven” (119).

Saint Andrew the Apostle
[November 30]
ALMIGHTY God, who didst give such grace unto thy holy Apostle Saint Andrew, that he readily obeyed the calling of thy Son Jesus Christ, and followed him without delay; Grant unto us all, that we, being called by thy holy Word, may forthwith give up ourselves obediently to fulfil thy holy commandments; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 55.1-5
Psalter: Psalm 34
Epistle Reading: Romans 10.9-21

Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 4.18-22


Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Trinity - 2013

{Salve! Today our Order has donated $500 toward the relief effort in the Philippines. We sent a check to "Mission to the World" in the name of the Order ( Remember, if you donate on your own in the name of the Order, to notify me and we will post it.}

The Twenty-fifth Sunday after Trinity
(from The Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany
Psalm 93
Dominus regnavit
1. THE Lord is King, and hath put on glorious apparel : the Lord hath put on his apparel, and girded himself with strength.
2. He hath made the round world so sure : that it cannot be moved.
3. Ever since the world began hath thy seat been prepared : thou art from everlasting.
4. The floods are risen, O Lord, the floods have lift up their voice : the floods lift up their waves.
5. The waves of the sea are mighty, and rage horribly : but yet the Lord, who dwelleth on high, is mightier.
6. Thy testimonies, O Lord, are very sure : holiness becometh thine house for ever.

The Collect.
O GOD, whose blessed Son was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil, and make us the sons of God, and heirs of eternal life; Grant us, we beseech thee, that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves, even as he is pure; that, when he shall appear again with power and great glory, we may be made like unto him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where with thee, O Father, and thee, O Holy Ghost, he liveth and reigneth, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 66.1-2, 10, 12-16, 18-23
Psalter: Psalm 75, 138, 98 | 9, 76, 96
Epistle Reading: 1 John 3.1-8
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 24.23-31

Massey Hamilton Shepherd Jr.: “This was probably composed by Bishop Cosin. It weaves together the first and second Advent themes of the Epistle and Gospel and is for the most part composed of phrases taken from these lessons. In His first coming our Lord broke the power of Satan over men’s lives both by His own victory over temptation and sin and by His many acts of driving from tormented human lives the demonic spirits that mastered them. In His final coming He shall break forever the possibility of evil assailing those who are ‘made like unto him in his eternal and glorious kingdom’” (“The Oxford American Prayer Book Commentary,” 118).


Twenty Fourth Sunday after Trinity - 2013

The Twenty-fourth Sunday after Trinity.
Psalm 125
Qui confidunt
1. THEY that put their trust in the Lord shall be even as the mount Sion : which may not be removed, but standeth fast for ever.
2. The hills stand about Jerusalem : even so standeth the Lord round about his people, from this time forth for evermore.
3. For the rod of the ungodly cometh not into the lot of the righteous : lest the righteous put their hand unto wickedness.
4. Do well, O Lord : unto those that are good and true of heart.
5. As for such as turn back unto their own wickedness : the Lord shall lead them forth with the evil-doers; but peace shall be upon Israel.

The Collect.
O LORD, we beseech thee, absolve thy people from their offences; that through thy bountiful goodness we may all be delivered from the bands of those sins, which by our frailty we have committed: Grant this, O heavenly Father, for Jesus Christ’s sake, our blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Malachi 3.13-4.3
Psalter: Psalm 129, 130, 131 | 144, 145
Epistle Reading: Colossians 1.3-12
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 9.18-26

Barbee and Zahl: “This prayer has two points of view, that of the victim and that of the victimizer. But the latter looms larger than the former. The petition is for the forgiveness of offenses committed. This is the primary request. But the prayer goes on to see us sinners as victims also, victims of compulsion: “ . . . the bands of all those sins which by our frailty we have committed.” Sins bind us, yet we commit sins because we are frail. The sequences of the human tragedy goes this way: Our frailty or need  leaves us open to temptation. When we fall, we become as it were imprisoned. Each sin is another brick in the wall, or what Jacob Marley in A Christmas Carol described as the links of the chain we wrought in life….For release to be accomplished, forgiveness is needed. Thus the prayer asks God to do the one thing sufficient to break the bondage. Father, forgive! ( . . . ) The Good News, then, is for the victimizers or sinners first, and for the victims or those sinned against second. ( . . . ) Victimizer and victim co-exist within every single human being. No self-righteousness allowed” (117)!


Twenty Third Sunday after Trinity - 2013

All Saints’ Day
The Collect
O almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord; Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys, which thou hast prepared for them that unfeignedly love thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Twenty-third Sunday after Trinity.
Psalm 124
Nisi quia Dominus
1. IF THE Lord himself had not been on our side, now may Israel say : if the Lord himself had not been on our side, when men rose up against us;
2. They had swallowed us up quick : when thy were so wrathfully displeased at us.
3. Yea, the waters had drowned us : and the stream had gone over our soul.
4. The deep waters of the proud : had gone even over our soul.
5. But praised be the Lord : who hath not given us over for a prey unto their teeth.
6. Our soul is escaped even as a bird out of the snare of the fowler : the snare is broken, and we are delivered .
7. Our help standeth in the Name of the Lord : who hath made heaven and earth.

The Collect.
O GOD, our refuge and strength, who art the author of all godliness; Be ready, we beseech thee, to hear the devout prayers of thy Church; and grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain effectually; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 64.1-12
Psalter: Psalm 126, 127, 128 | 140, 141
Epistle Reading: Philippians 3.17-21
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 22.15-22

Personal reflection (MWP): I love the compact power of this Collect. (1) God is our refuge and strength where we can run in times of trouble and find his protection (A quotation from Psalm 46.1); (2) “The author of all godliness” describes our God as the scriptwriter and originator of what piety looks like, and the source from which godliness flows (Philippians 2.12-13); (3) “Be ready … to hear the devout prayers of your Church.” The obvious sentiment is that God stands ready to hear us, as the Westminster Shorter Catechism 100 puts it: “What doth the preface of the Lord's prayer teach us? A. The preface of the Lord's prayer (which is, Our Father which art in heaven) teacheth us to draw near to God with all holy reverence and confidence, as children to a father, able and ready to help us; and that we should pray with and for others.”   (4) “grant that those things which we ask faithfully we may obtain effectually” is a great exposition of Jesus’ promise in John 14.13 (and other places), “And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son."