Friday, January 26, 2007

The Collect - Epiphany IV

Collect from the Roman Breviary
Deus, qui nos in tantis periculis constitutos, pro humana scis fragilitate non posse subsistere : da nobis salútem mentis et córporis ; ut ea, quæ pro peccátis nostris patimur, te adjuvante vincamus. Per Dóminum.

Collect of 1549
GOD, whiche knoweste us to bee set in the middest of so many and great daungers, that for mannes fraylnes we cannot alwayes stande uprightly; Graunt to us the health of body and soule that al those thinges which we suffer for sinne, by thy helpe we may wel passe and overcome; through Christ our lorde.

Collect of 1662
O GOD, who knowest us to be set in the midst of so many and great dangers, that by reason of the frailty of our nature we cannot always stand upright; Grant to us such strength and protection, as may support us in all dangers, and carry us through all temptations; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Clearly Cranmer is happy to translate the Sarum Latin collect verbatim. The compilers of the 1662 BCP encourage us to take some personal ownership of "mannes fraylnes", but the content is largely the same.

Jamal is a crack racing driver who has performed many stunts for televison and films. His hand-brake turns are legendary and he is regarded in the film industry as an remarkable asset since the last few stunts have rendered the productions a roaring success. Jamal's reactions are remarkably quick, the impulses taking microseconds to process infromation gained from his senses, before they reach his steering wheel. Truly, like everyone else, Jamal's body is a feat of hydraulic, pneumatic and mechanical engineering, only Jamal has exercised his reactions as far as he can.
The wind blows, a tree falls, and even Jamal's honed reflexes cannot save him as he crashes into its bulk. The safety devices in his car work as well as they can, air-bag, side impact bars, crumple-zone, but nothing can stop the damage done to Jamal's body.
In hospital, he pays neurosurgeons to help him regain the use of his legs. He gets the top bod, those with more doctorates and degrees than an MIT reunion. For all their knowledge they can do nothing. Jamal sits in his wheelchair for the rest of his life.
You'd think he would be bitter, angry at God for this complete removal of his ability, passion and livelihood. But he sits and laughs. "Sure, I am tempted to curse God and die, but it was He who has given me some wonderful experiences in life. I've been part of some great films and I've been proud of what God gave me. Sure, He took it away - He's boss. I wasn't expecting for this body to last forever, but my life isn't over yet. With God, I've got all I need, and if He wants me, life everlasting too when this body finally falls to bits."

Jonathan Munn


Anonymous said...

Wow! That Jamal fellow comes top in spiritual maturity. We all think we know 'The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed is the name of the Lord', and that the grace of the Lord is sufficient and that the Lord's power is shown in our weakness, but how many of us really know it so intimately and essentially that we wouldn't forget it if something terrible happened? There's certainly a lesson in it for me.

Albion Land said...

Abu Daoud says:

The name "jamal" is Arabic for "camel." Meaning some one who is strong and indispensible for the functioning or survival of a society. An appropriate name for that man.