Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Collect - Advent III

The Prayer (1549)

Lord, we beseech thee, give ear to our prayers, and by thy gracious visitation lighten the darkness of our hearts, by our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Prayer (1662 and later)

O Lord Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst send thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee; Grant that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may likewis4e so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at thy second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end.

Commentary

In 1549, for the first BCP, Cranmer simply translated the ancient Latin Collect. As may be seen, it was a very general prayer, and not too closely related to the Epistle and Gospel. Hence, the revisers in 1662 thought it wise to substitute a new composition. The new prayer (which appears in later versions of the BCP as well) masterfully combines themes from both Epistle and Gospel with the central thought of the old collect (the turning of the heart), and makes a fit introduction for the week of Advent Ember Days, a traditional week for ordinations. This Collect is one of the very few to address Jesus, the Son, directly.

Meditation

Long lay the world in the darkness of sin.
Long lay my heart in the darkness of sin.
John was not light, but came as a witness of the light to enlighten the hearts of men.
To prepare the way of the Lord.
To call for the turning of hearts.
If Light shines in my heart, I am called to shine as did John,
To prepare a way for the Lord to the hearts of men,
and the hearts of men to turn to the Lord.
May He bless the hearts of proclaiming layfolk,
and may He bless yet more those He calls as prophets and priests before Him.

Ed Pacht

1 comment:

George said...

That's very interesting. And the other collects of the Advent? In fact, only Advent IV is identical with the Roman version.

George