Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Collect - Trinity 17

The Collect (a literal translation from the Latin first found in the 8th century Gregorian Sacramentary)

Lord, we pray thee that thy grace may always prevent and follow us, and make us continually to be given to all good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

While we recognize that salvation doesn’t come by doing good works, yet in this collect we pray that the Lord might “make us continually to be given to all good works.” The more we observe the good works of God on our behalf, the more we desire to do as God does; to be charitable, merciful, tender-hearted and forgiving. The more we hope in Christ, the more we desire HIS grace to go before us and to follow us, so that we might “walk worthy of the vocation to which we are called” (Eph. 4). No small task! It is possible only as HIS grace makes us able.

And what can we do to receive a greater measure of God’s grace? The Gospel reading assigned for this Sunday points us in the right direction: “For whoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” (Luke 14)

Humility must go hand in hand with good works or else everything is overthrown! St. Mark the Ascetic reminds us that we are not to rejoice when we do good to someone, but when we endure with humility and “without rancor the hostility that follows. For just as night follows day, so acts of malice follow acts of kindness.” That is why we urgently need the Lord’s grace to go before us and after us.

------------------Alice C. Linsley

No comments: