Sunday, September 13, 2015

Collect for the fifteenth Sunday after Trinity

Latin Collect
CUSTODI, Domine, quaesumus, Ecclesiam tuam propitatione perpetua: et quia sine te labitur humana mortalitas, tuis semper auxiliis et abstrahatur a noxiis, et ad salutaria dirigatur. Per Dominum

[My translation: Keep, O Lord, we beseech Thee, Thy Church by Thy perpetual mercy: and, because human mortality falls without Thee, always by Thy help both draw us from things hurtful and direct us to things beneficial. Through...]

Prayer book of 1549
KEPE we beseche thee, O Lorde, thy Churche with thy perpetuall mercye: and because the frailtie of man without thee, cannot but fall: Kepe us ever by thy helpe, and leade us to al thynges profitable to our salvacion; through Jesus Christe our Lorde. Amen.

Prayer book of 1662
KEEP, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy Church with thy perpetual mercy: and, because the frailty of man without thee cannot but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful, and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Archbishop Cranmer always has the question of our salvation in his mind as he translates this collect from the Gelasian Sacramentary. Anything that is not drawing us to that salvation is automatically harmful to us: Archbishop Cranmer doesn't want us even to consider things which are not bringing us to our end in God. Is this why, perhaps, he omits translating abstrahuntur a noxiis?

It is by God's mercy that we are drawn from our sins and that this is a continued process. When we fail to consider God, we fall; we cry out to Him and He saves us. The story of Israel is repeated again and again in our lives, all because of human inability to keep God's moral law. Sin, the World and the Devil cling close drawing our fragile wills back and our repentance permits God to draw us out. The cycle of sin-fall-repent-rise is part of our being in Time. On the fabric of Eternity, our lives look like some oscillating wave crying out for an end and for constancy in God.

Archbishop Cranmer's long term view is the knowledge that God will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy. Since Christ comes not to condemn but to save the world, that single sacrifice also written across the fabric of Eternity is enough to draw anyone who chooses to follow Him out of this cycle and into eternal joy.

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