Sunday, October 04, 2015

Collect for the eighteenth Sunday after Trinity

Latin Collect
DA, quæsumus Domine, populo tuo diabolica vitare contagia, et te solum verum Deum pura mente sectari, Per Jesum Christum Dominum nostrum.
[My translation: Grant, we beseech Thee O Lord, Thy people to avoid the infection of the Devil and to follow Thee the only true God with pure mind. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord ]

Prayer book of 1549
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.

Prayer book of 1662
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.

We notice that the prayer book of 1549 closely follows the Latin Collect and sees the work of the Devil as an infection that draws mankind from the health that God intended. We are sick and infected with a dangerous separation from God. We wander in the half-light bearing both light and darkness in our very selves, with the Devil seeking to extinguish it with his own brand of light.

This diabolical desire is fleshed out in the collect of 1662 in which the means and sources of infection are revealed, namely through temptation by the world, the flesh and the Devil. The world around us distracts us, the pain of our mortal limitations depresses us, and the final lie that Evil can triumph over Good causes us to fall away into darkness. This is the light that fizzles like some neon sign that crackles before finally going out.

Yet God is righteous, and His righteousness is unmistakable to those who seek Him. No matter how the Devil tries, and his neon light may blind like the sun, his efforts will not penetrate or fool the pure and humble heart seeking earnestly for its creator. We pray this prayer that we may indeed be purified by the burning goodness of God and find our rest in Him away from the infection of the deceit and lies that can kill both body and soul.

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