Friday, April 03, 2015

Collects for Good Friday

Prayer book

ALMIGHTY God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for whom our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross, who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

 ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified; Receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before thee for all estates of men in thy holy Church, that every member of the same, in his vocation and ministry may truly and godly serve thee; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

 O MERCIFUL God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, nor wouldest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live; Have mercy upon all Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Hereticks, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy flock, that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be made one fold under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

There are no collects from the Breviary since, for the whole of the Triduum, the drama is continuous and the offices begin on Maundy Thursday and end at None on Easter Even. The Divine Office becomes one long observation in the heart of the Passion and Death of Our Lord.

In these collects we see again the theme of the desire of Love to bring the people of God together. One might feel scandalised at the "political incorrectness" of the third collect, especially with the archaic terminology for the followers of Islam. However, why Jews, Moslems and Heretics?

The fact of the matter is that Jews, Moslems and Heretics are our brothers. They are our brothers in Abraham and they are our brothers in our humanity. We cannot dare forget them and we cannot dare dismiss them. Their salvation matters to us - it MUST matter to us if we are to say that we have any ounce of love within us. Love seeks to bind us in confraternity, not consign the other to Hell. We believe them to be wrong, mistaken, holding to a falsehood or not embracing the fulness of the truth, They will say the same about us. One fact remains, each one of us, no matter what we believe, is a sinner, riddled with evil and in danger of Eternal Death.

Having a belief does separate people, and that seems to go against Love. Love rejoices only in the truth and believing that one is right can only work if we believe in Love and that desire of Love to reach out even to those who do not believe as we do, and remember that we share the same flesh and blood. In believing in the truth of the Catholic Faith, we pray that those who do not hold it may indeed hold it, even as we ourselves seek to grow our faith by serving God in His Church according to the vocations that we have received.

Today, we see the vocation of Our Lord and Saviour fulfilled in agony upon a cross. We see His skin torn, His hands ripped, His feet split, His side pierced, and His precious blood spilled for each and every one of us regardless of who we are and what we believe. However, it is only in Christ that this Death has any point, has any lasting effect. It is only through the death upon the cross that the Church can carry people to Salvation as it plots its course through the wounds of Christ. It is fitting, then, that we pray for all people to join us on the same course.

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