The Latin Collect
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui dedisti famulis tuis in confessione verae fidei, aeternae Trinitatis gloriam agnoscere, et in potentia majestatis adorare unitatem: quaesumus; ut, ejusdem fidei firmitate, ab omnibus semper muniamue adversis; per dominum nostrum Jesum Christum …
The Collect (1549)
Almightye and euerlastyng God, whiche haste geuen unto us thy seruantes grace by the confession of a true fayth to acknowledge the glorye of the eternall trinitie, and in the power of the diuyne maiestie to wurshippe the unitie: we beseche thee, that through the stedfastnes of thys faith, we may euermore be defended from all aduersitie, whiche liueste and reignest, one God, worlde without end..
The Collect (1662 and later)
Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the unity;
We beseech thee that thou wouldest keep us stedfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, who livest and reignest, one God, world without end.
The Latin Collect is ancient, probably originating at the same time as the feast itself, perhaps even before the Fall of Rome. It harmonizes well, both in content and in style, with the ancient propers as given in the Sarum Missal and in the Missale Romanum. Archbishop Cranmer produced a very literal translation of this ancient prayer, but with one rather interesting change in the conclusion. The old prayer was addressed to the Father, thus concluding ‘through Jesus Christ our Lord, who livest …’ Cranmer, in eliminating the phrase about Christ, converted it into a less usual form: a collect directed to the Trinity. Other than that, Cranmer left the content alone, but the compilers of 1662 made one further change, which has come down to us in later Prayer Books. Instead of praying that our faith may enable us to be defended from adversity, we pray that we be kept in the faith and thus defended. A subtle but interesting change.
This collect is so precise and detailed, and so rich in content, that it seemed appropriate in the following mediation to examine it phrase by phrase.
[Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, ]
We begin our prayer, knowing that, but for the grace He so freely gives, we could not do even this.
[by the confession of a true faith, ]
We have received this grace when, also by His gift, we have been able to accept what He has spoken,
[to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, ]
to recognize God not according to what men have imagined, but, according to His revelation of Himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, distinct from all other conceptions of godhead.
[and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the unity;]
and, by the power of that revelation and that grace, to worship him in Spirit and in Truth, One in three and Three in One, in glory everlasting
[we beseche thee, that through the stedfastnes of thys faith, we may euermore be defended from all aduersitie, (1549)
We beseech thee that thou wouldest keep us stedfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, (1662)]
and, holding this truth in steadfastness, which we cannot do without His grace, we thus approach the True God and boldly call upon Him for protection and support, in the assurance that the God we confess is the God who visits us in His love, whop hears and answers prayer.
[who livest and reignest, one God, world without end.]
Grant it unto us, O lord.