Friday, October 05, 2007

The Collect - Trinity 18

Da, quaesumus, Domine, populo tuo diabolica vitare contagia: et te solum Deum pura mente sectari.

LORDE we beseche thee, graunt thy people grace to avoyde the infeccions of the Devil, and with pure harte and mynde to folowe thee the onelye God; Through Jesus Christ our Lorde.

LORD, we beseech thee, grant thy people grace to withstand the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and with pure hearts and minds to follow thee the only God; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This collect, translated from the Gelasian Sacramentary by Cranmer is, as usual, the Tridentine collect for the previous week, the 17th Sunday after Pentecost.

When did you first make your baptismal vows? If you were baptised as a baby, then your parents and Godparents will have made these vows for you. After that, the vows are repeated at your confirmation when you remove the yoke of spiritual care from the shoulders of those sponsoring you at your baptism and put it upon your own shoulders. If you were baptised later in life, how did you feel when you made those vows? Do you actually remember making them?
We're used to renewing these vows at the great Easter Vigil, just after recalling the agony and death of Our Lord. At this time, this time of expecting Our Lord to rise from the Dead, we recall that at our baptism we too have died in Christ, we identify ourselves in His Death, and with Him we rise to a new life.
This makes sense, to us. However, why in October should our Collect urge us back to our Baptism?
It is fully half a year since Easter. We have sat in Ordinary Time now for 18 weeks, and it's so tempting to think of this time as being without a major event. It's easy for us to become jaded with the green colour of the hangings of Ordinary Time.
If we think like this, then this collect is for us! It's a prayer for those for whom life has become samey. We ask God to draw us back to the waters of Baptism, to be refreshed and to revive us from the torpor of leading a life half a year distant from the Cross and the Resurrection. Ordinary Time has not been ordinary: there have been feasts - Michaelmas, the feast of Our Lady, the feast of the Transfiguration, the Holy Guardian Angels and so many more. It is because that there is no commercial value in these wonderful joys that they are largely ignored by Society. Consequently Ordinary Time becomes samey for the World.
Our Collect invites us and pleads to Our Creator for that first excitement of belief when the green hangings of Ordinary Time first shone for us, when the refreshing water invigorated us, and the figure on the crucifix seemed more alive than any human being in the church. We beg God to prevent the World from dulling the joy through the temptation to see every day the same in a vanity of vanities. It is something that He promises to all who seek Him. How deeply will you drink of this Collect?

---------------------------------------Jonathan Munn

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