The Sunday called Quinquagesima, or the next Sunday before Lent.
Judica me, Domine
BE THOU my judge, O Lord, for I have walked innocently : my trust hath been also in the Lord, therefore shall I not fall.
2. Examine me, O Lord, and prove me : try out my reins and my heart.
3. For thy loving-kindness is ever before mine eyes : and I will walk in thy truth.
4. I have not dwelt with vain persons : neither will I have fellowship with the deceitful.
5. I have hated the congregation of the wicked : and will not sit among the ungodly.
6. I will wash my hands in innocency, O Lord : and so will I go to thine altar.
7. That I may shew the voice of thanksgiving : and tell of all thy wondrous works.
8. Lord, I have loved the habitation of thy house : and the place where thine honour dwelleth.
9. O shut not up my soul with the sinners : nor my life with the blood-thirsty.
10. In whose hands is wickedness : and their right hand is full of gifts.
11. But as for me, I will walk innocently : O deliver me, and be merciful unto me.
12. My foot standeth right : I will praise the Lord in the congregations.
O LORD, who hast taught us that all our doings without charity are nothing worth; Send thy Holy Ghost and pour into our hearts that most excellent gift of charity, the very bond of peace and of all virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before thee. Grant this for thine only Son Jesus Christ’s sake. Amen.
Old Testament Reading: Deuteronomy 10.12-11.1
Psalter: Psalm 15, 16 | 111, 112
Epistle Reading: 1 Corinthians 13.1-13
Gospel Reading: St. Luke 18.31-43
Toon: “This Collect is closely related to the Epistle, St Paul's hymn of charity or love, which is 1 Corinthians 13. The opening words recall the third verse. "Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor and though I give my body to be burned and have not charity it profiteth me nothing." And these words also point back to the opening of the Collect for Sexagesima, "O Lord God who seest that that we put not our trust in anything that we do..." When we trust in what we actually do, that is in our good intentions and deeds, they break down under us as we lean upon them for "without charity they are worth nothing" - and perfect charity is never found in our souls.
As we approach Lent, when we are called to engage in both personal asceticism and good works in order to please our Lord in preparation for the celebration of his Atonement and Resurrection, we need this solemn reminder - that unless what we do for others is inspired by the faith that works by charity and love it will not be acceptable in the kingdom of heaven or pleasing to our God.
Thus it is most clear that we need the presence of the Holy Ghost in our souls and lives so that he who is God can bring to us the actual love of God, the gift of charity. Then we can both love God and love man as the two great commandments calls for us to do.
The gift of divine love and charity becomes for us the bond that brings peace to the soul and peace between the brethren. From it also spring the virtues or the doings of charity - the almsgiving, the endurances, the labours and the serving and evangelising. These which are "our doing" need to proceed from, be united in, and be surrounded by divine love so that they truly are means for the promotion of the kingdom of Christ and for the glory of God (see further Ephesians 4:3 & Colossians 3:14).
The last part of the Collect presents a very strong assertion, yet one taken from Holy Scripture. Without the love of God in our hearts we are as dead persons before God. "He that loveth not his brother abideth in death" (1 John 3:14). "Though I have all faith and have not charity, I am nothing" (1 Corinthians 13:2).
What an excellent prayer to use in the week that includes Ash Wednesday & the beginning of the 40 days of Lent” (http://www.pbs.org.uk/the-bcp/quinquagesima).