Sunday, March 08, 2015

Collect for the third Sunday in Lent

Prayer Book and Breviary

WE beseech thee, Almighty God, look upon the hearty desires of thy humble servants, and stretch forth the right hand of thy Majesty, to be our defence against all our enemies; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


A hearty meal - can that be a hearty desire? To be hale and hearty - can that be a hearty desire? Anything hearty must indeed come from the heart, that is clearly the point. A heart meal gives substance so that one can be substantial, i.e. hearty. Our desire is to be substantial, knowing that in our present form we are like ghosts compared with the saints. But do we really know what we're asking for?

This substance is only achieved through our suffering in this life. Our Lord reminds us that the way back to God is the way of the Cross. Our enemies will be the vehicle for that suffering, and there are any that would want us to remain insubstantial and wraith-like. These spectres tempt us with the notion that lack of substance is itself a substance and delight us with the joys of the vapid.

Yet these ruses work all too well, even when we think we know better. Our failure to succumb to this charade is a symptom of our blindness and our own familiarity with the insubstantial. Thus we pray our collect so that our brushes with the Great Insubstance - Evil itself - will have no effect.

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