Custodi, Domine, quaesumus, Ecclesiam tuam propitatione perpetua: et quia sine te labitur humana mortalitas, tuis semper auxiliis et abstrahatur a noxiis, et ad salutaria dirigatur.
The Collect 1549
KEPE we beseche thee, O Lorde, thy Churche with thy perpetuall mercye: and because the frailtie of man without thee, cannot but fall: Kepe us ever by thy helpe, and leade us to al thynges profitable to our salvacion; through Jesus Christe our Lorde. Amen.
The Collect 1662
KEEP, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy Church with thy perpetual mercy: and, because the frailty of man without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Cranmer did a quite literal translation of this collect, appointed in the Sarum Missal for Trinity 15, and in the Tridentine Missal for 14th after Pentecost, which was originally taken from the Gelasian Sacramentary of about AD 750.
What a prayer for these days! Though it is over 1200 years old, it crackles with immediacy today. The Enemy of our souls has marshalled an impressive array of troops to oppose the Church of God. The secular society in which we live loathes the Gospel of Christ and would either oppose it directly or confine it to a hidden corner of obscurity, quaintness, and irrelevance. There are many enemies from without, but, far worse in God's sight, there are bitter enemies of truth within the company of those called 'Christian' who would discard and change the teaching and practice entrusted to the saints. The frailty of man is incapable of overcoming all these forces. In fact, we, each of us individually, and sometimes even as we gather in churches, are all too often led to take our eyes off Jesus Christ and Him crucified. and to substitute our own desires and fears for the following of His complete will. Keep us, we pray, protect us, shield us, step in with thy mighty power when we are about to fail. Deliver us from evil, lead us not into temptation, but into holiness; not into error, but into truth, and, in our weakness, fill us with thy strength. Lead us to salvation, and use us so to lead others.
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