Friday, March 30, 2007

The Collect: Palm Sunday

The Prayer, Latin

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui humano generi ad imitandum humilitatis exemplum, Salvatorem nostrum carnem sumere, et crucem subire fecisti: concede propitius; ut et patientiae ipsius habere documenta, et resurrectionis consortia mereamur.

The Prayer, since 1662 (slightly altered from 1549)

Almighty and everlasting God, who, of thy tender love toward mankind, hast sent thy Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ, to take upon him our flesh, and to suffer death upon the cross, that all mankind should follow the example of his great humility; Mercifully grant, that we may both follow the example of his patience, and also be made partakers of his resurrection; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord.


Cranmer preserved the ancient prayer from the Sarum Missal, originally from the fifth century Gelasian Sacramentary. It may be noted that he did rearrange clauses in his translation, in order to make better English of it, but without disturbing the content at all. The result is a singularly happy combination of rich content and truly satisfying form.

It should be noted that, though the day is called Palm Sunday, the entry to Jerusalem and the palms are mentioned only in the traditional introductory ceremonies, used in part or in full in most of our churches, and that the Mass itself does not mention the entry nor the palms, either in the prayers or in the readings. The Mass is very strictly of the Passion of Our Lord.


“So God loved the world
that he gave his only-begotten Son …”

Salvation begins in the heart of God.
Before the very foundation of the world,
before the first sin has been committed,
before you and I are born,
or even dreamed of upon this earth,
he loves us with an everlasting love.
Out of that love he determines, before the need arises,
to speak the everlasting Word
. . into the body of a teenage girl
brought out in due time from her own mother’s womb.
The Word becomes flesh and dwells among us.
He is our God and He is our Brother
. . and He takes the weight of our sins upon Him,
and with them is nailed to the Holy Cross,
. . and with them is put to death.

O what love!
O what humility!
that He should give Himself whole and entire
. . for those who have denied Him!
that He should willingly taste the penalty
. . that we have earned!
Who crucified Him?
I crucified Him,
and He yet loves me.

May we be filled with His heart.
May we be transformed into His image.
May His love flow through us and
. . from us into this suffering world.
May our mind be as His,
. . and His humility lived out within us.
May we follow Him in His death and in his rising
to the fullness of life
. . both here and in the world to come.

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