The Latin Collect
Deus, qui miro ordine Angelorum ministeria hominumque dispensas: concede propitius; ut a quibus tibi ministrantibus in caelo semper assistitur, ab his in terra vita nostra muniatur,
The Collect 1549
EVERLASTYNG God, which haste ordayned and constituted the services of all Angels and men in a wonderfull ordre: mercifully graunt, that they whiche alwaye doe thee service in heaven, may by thy appoyntment succour and defende us in earth: through Jesus Christe our Lorde, &c.
The Collect 1662
O EVERLASTING God, who hast ordained and constituted the services of Angels and men in a wonderful order; Mercifully grant, that as thy holy Angels alway do thee service in heaven, so by thy appointment they may succour and defend us on earth; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Cranmer’s masterful translation of this ancient collect, first found in the Gregorian Sacramentary, preserves all the depth of content of the original, and clothes it in a truly elegant English.
How remarkable it is that the cloud of angels that worship God ceaselessly in Heaven are also sent, by His mercy, as messengers of His Word and as defenders of His people. Jacob saw them ascending and descending as on a mighty ladder, when Elisha’s servant’s eyes were opened, he saw them surrounding the city in which they were besieged, Mary heard by the message of an angel that she was to become Mother of God, angels announced the resurrection of the Lord, St. Peter was freed by an angel, and so it has been and will ever be. St. Michael and all angels, defend us.
What a beautiful thought, Ed. Because angels are so closely associated with God's person(s) and carry out His will, they have traditionally been favorite objects of Christian devotion and art.
So it is particularly sad that in our time they have tended to be either ignored or reduced to a pawky sentamentality that denies their literally awe-filling nature. To treat such important creatures of God in that way is just another way of diminishing God's influence in the world, too.
John A. Hollister+
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