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First Sunday of Advent and Feast of St. Andrew - 2014

Again this year the weekly Collects will be from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. I will post the readings, along with any rubrics, with the Collect. Because we have a great resource on the Order’s website of homilies that have been pulled together according to the calendar – thanks to the work of the Fundator, Mark Carroll – I will attach a link to the homily that goes with the Collect.  On occasion I may also append some personal observations.

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: Matthew 21.1-13

Personal note:  The Epistle reading, on which the Collect is beautifully based, is the very passage that had a powerful impact on St. Augustine. Remember, he heard the child’s voice say to him, “Tolle lege, tolle lege (take up and read)” and he picked up the Bible book in front of him (Romans) and it was opened to this passage. He read and was converted! Every year when I use this Collect I am reminded of this episode.

Saint Andrew the Apostle
(November 30)

[A helpful snippet from the Rubric in the 1962 BCP-Canada: “A Holy-day falling on a Sunday in Advent or Lent, or on Ash Wednesday or Ascension Day, shall be transferred  to the following Tuesday.”]

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: Matthew 4.18-22 (see also John 1.35-42)


Thanksgiving Day (USA) - 2014

Thanksgiving Day
O PRAISE the LORD, for it is a good thing to sing praises unto our God; * yea, a joyful and pleasant thing it is to be thankful.
The LORD doth build up Jerusalem, * and gather together the outcasts of Israel.
He healeth those that are broken in heart, * and giveth medicine to heal their sickness.
O sing unto the LORD with thanksgiving; * sing praises upon the harp unto our God:
Who covereth the heaven with clouds, and prepareth rain for the earth; * and maketh the grass to grow upon the mountains, and herb for the use of men;
Who giveth fodder unto the cattle, * and feedeth the young ravens that call upon him.
Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem; * praise thy God, O Sion.
For he hath made fast the bars of thy gates, * and hath blessed thy children within thee.
He maketh peace in thy borders, * and filleth thee with the flour of wheat.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, * and to the Holy Ghost;
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, * world without end. Amen.

The Collect.
O MOST merciful Father, who hast blessed the labours of the husbandman in the returns of the fruits of the earth; We give thee humble and hearty thanks for this thy bounty; beseeching thee to continue thy loving-kindness to us, that our land may still yield her increase, to thy glory and our comfort; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle. St. James i. 16.
DO not err, my beloved brethren. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: for he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

The Gospel. St. Matthew vi. 25.
JESUS said, Be not anxious for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than food, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: forthey sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto the measure of his life? And why are ye anxious for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore be not anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Be not therefore anxious for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.


The Sunday next before Advent - 2014

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

Toon: “As this is the last Collect of the Christian Year, we may regard it as summing up in petition a major theme of the Collects, Epistles and Gospels for the Year past. And this theme may be simply stated: in the Christian life, unless the human will is engaged then all thought and feeling may be, or even are, wasted.

One of the great spiritual diseases of the Church and of individual Christians is lethargy. We remain content with where we are on the highway of holiness and in the climbing of Mount Zion. There is always tomorrow, we say to ourselves; then we can strive the more. Today we can relax! As pilgrims heading for the celestial city we are tempted to take too many rests on the way and thus do not seek to conquer more of the terrain & path in front of us.

The call is to press on towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:13-14). We are often deaf and stationary and do not pay heed to that call. We need to be awakened, stirred up and energized to make headway!

So the major petition of this Collect is that God the Father will cause the Holy Ghost to stir up our lazy and inactive wills and to rouse us from the slumber of complacency. Yet, as we know, a fire when stirred up does not always blaze and a sleeper, when roused, does not always get up! In the final analysis we are given a measure of freedom by our Creator so that we can respond to his call as persons with dignity and freedom and in love. This said, it is also true to say that our wills are naturally weak and need divine inspiration and assistance in order to be directed towards the glorifying of God in good works.

Thus there must be both stirring up from heaven and wholehearted cooperation by ourselves to the motions of the Spirit in our souls.

We can have the best of intentions and we can have the sweetest of feelings about those intentions but unless the will is engaged then there is no action! And action by the will is inspired and energized by the Spirit in souls that are prepared to do what is right.

In this prayer, God is thought of as the Judge who is the Lord of the harvest. Our reward (though altogether undeserved) will be apportioned to the measure of the good fruit that we produce. Obviously, we cannot bring forth plenteously such good fruit without an unfailing perseverance and unceasing exertion which only a resolved will can supply. Let us ponder for a moment the amount of work that is necessary to produce a good harvest in the world of nature. The farmer has to accept the conditions and provisions of nature (e.g., sunshine & rain, wind and frost) and persevere week by week in his varied tasks for many months until he sees the purpose of his labour in the plenteous harvest. If he did not prune and water, feed and protect, there would be a reduced harvest or none at all. Likewise, there is no fruit of the Spirit produced in our lives if we simply sit back and do not cooperate day by day, week by week, with the Spirit of the Lord, who assists us to cultivate our souls, intellect, emotions and will, aright.

The idea of plenteous reward for good works freely and lovingly done for the glory of God is a scriptural doctrine. Let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not (Galatians 6:9); Be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58). Of course, the rewards are at the end of the age and pertain to the life of the world to come.

Then, let us be clear, we offer this prayer not on the basis of our own merits and achievements (assuming we have any!) but through the one Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ, in and through whom alone there will be reward for the faithful in the age to come….” (


Twenty-Second Sunday after Trinity - 2014

The Twenty-second Sunday after Trinity.

Psalm 119.169-176
Appropinquet deprecatio
169. LET my complaint come before thee, O Lord : give me understanding, according to thy word.
170. Let my supplication come before thee : deliver me, according to thy word.
171. My lips shall speak of thy praise : when thou hast taught me thy statutes.
172. Yea, my tongue shall sing of thy word : for all thy commandments are righteous.
173. Let thine hand help me : for I have chosen thy commandments.
174. I have longed for thy saving health, O Lord : and in thy law is my delight.
175. O let my soul live, and it shall praise thee : and thy judgements shall help me.
176. I have gone astray like a sheep that is lost : O seek thy servant, for I do not forget thy commandments.

The Collect.
LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy household the Church in continual godliness; that through thy protection it may be free from all adversities, and devoutly given to serve thee in good works, to the glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Numbers 20.14-29
Psalter: Psalm 123, 124, 125 | 136, 138
Epistle Reading: Philippians 1.3-11
Gospel Reading: St. Matthew 18.21-35

Personal: This Collect begins with a request that the LORD will keep (preserve, secure, direct) God’s household the Church (“if I delay, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, a pillar and buttress of the truth” (1 Timothy 3.15).) in continual godliness.  The idea of God’s Church being God’s household, family, is a warm concept. The Old Testament is rife with images of God being married and having children (for one take on this and how this message can be a comfort to those whose home life is rough and tumble, see my short piece:

The request is unpacked in the remainder of the Collect where, on the one hand, the Lord is asked to protect his household “from all adversities”; and on the other hand, to guide her to serve him with good works in a heartfelt way.

This Collect is a great way to pray for three aspects of Christ’s church: (1) that portion of the Church that is being hounded and harmed by predators (whether the predators are heretics or Christ-haters); (2) the section of God’s people who are falling into gross unorthodoxy; (3) finally, the rest of God’s family circle who are faithfully pushing hard against the culture that is pushing hard against her.

The aim of the Collect is properly “to the glory of thy name”.  We are strongly assured that if this is our aim, then we will find the Father attentive and ready to answer our prayer; “"Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14.12-13), and “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (John 15.7-8).

Let us pray!

Primus Pilus II


The Twenty-First Sunday after Trinity - 2014

The Twenty-first Sunday after Trinity.
Psalm 119.161-168
Principes persecuti sunt
161. PRINCES have persecuted me without a cause : but my heart standeth in awe of thy word.
162. I am as glad of thy word : as one that findeth great spoils.
163. As for lies, I hate and abhor them : but thy law do I love.
164. Seven times a day do I praise thee : because of thy righteous judgements.
165. Great is the peace that they have who love thy law : and they are not offended at it.
166. Lord, I have looked for thy saving health : and done after thy commandments.
167. My soul hath kept thy testimonies : and loved them exceedingly.
168. I have kept thy commandments and testimonies : for all my ways are before thee.

The Collect.
GRANT, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to thy faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Old Testament Reading: Psalm 59.15b-21
Psalter: Psalm 120, 121, 122 | 133, 134, 135
Epistle Reading: Ephesians 6.10-20
Gospel Reading: St. John 4.46-54

Toon: “God never does things by quarters, thirds or halves. The verb to grant from the Latin largire has the sense of grant largely or bountifully. We know that God is wont to give more than we either desire or deserve (Trinity 12,Collect), and that when he feeds a multitude there remain of fragments twelve full baskets (Matthew 14:20).

We can humbly yet boldly use the verb grant and address the Almighty Father as the merciful Lord because of the expiation and propitiation provided for our sins at Calvary by the Incarnate Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. The Father has demonstrated in the fullest and clearest way in the Incarnation, Death and Exaltation of Jesus that he loves us with an infinite and eternal love and that he is ready to give unto us pardon, remission and forgiveness of our sins, to reckon us to be righteous in his sight, justified by faith, and to adopt us as his children.

In fact not only is the Father, because of the merits of his Son, always ready to be in a state of peace or reconciliation with us, so that we are no longer his enemies, but he is also desirous to place in our souls by the presence of the Holy Ghost that internal peace, which passes understanding and which endures through pain and tribulation, persecution and trials.

In response to such a bountiful provision by the grace and mercy of the Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, we ought to be enthusiastic about and consecrated to the service of God, with a mind, heart and will that are focused” (