Blessed Lord, which hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; grant us that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them; that by patience and comfort of thy holy word, we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
This was a new collect in 1549, substituted by Archbishop Cranmer for the following:
Stir, Lord, our hearts, to prepare the way of thine only-begotten Son, that we may worthily serve thee with minds purified by His coming, through ...
Cranmer apparently thought, justifiably, that the original was a little thin in content. Reading the traditional Epistle, which he retained, gave him the opportunity to produce a well-crafted collect on the Scriptures. In this writer’s opinion, this is the best written prayer extant on this theme. At first glance it seems a bit out of place in the Advent cycle; but, in context, it has the effect of directing us to dig deeper into the Scriptural prophecies in the Epistle and Gospel of both His First Coming and His Return.
“...The word of God is living and powerful ...” (Hebrews 4:12, composite translation).
Hear the Scriptures as they are read in worship.
Read them in the book you hold in your hands.
Mark their meaning as it has been found in the Church through the ages.
Learn them as the Fathers learned.
Let them feed you, and digest their spiritual food.
Any book may be read. Any book may be studied. Any book may be interpreted.
But this book will read you, and study you, and interpret your life.
In the written word is the eternal Word, the Logos, the Christ,
the Same whose Church is His Body,
the Same who redeems and calls and brings us to life.
Embrace Him, hold fast, and live.