Essays/Articles and Scriptural Studies

THE COLLECTS OF THE ROMAN MISSAL - Advent III: Sunday, December 11, 2016

For this week's meditation on the Collects of the Roman Missal, we consider the PostCommunion Collect for the feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, which, like the principal Collect of the feast, is identical in both forms of the Mass (MR 1962 and MR 1970). The English translation supplied here is the official ICEL translation of the third typical edition of the Roman Missal (2010): "May the Sacrament we have received, O Lord our God, heal in us the wounds of that fault from which in a singular way you preserved Blessed Mary in her Immaculate Conception. Through Christ our Lord. Amen."

Broken down into its five-part structure, the Collect looks like this:  

  1. O Lord our God (address),
  2. who preserved Mary in a singular way from Original Sin ("that fault") in her Immaculate Conception (the ascription of God and the recognition of his work),
  3. may the Sacrament heal in us the wounds of Original Sin (petition),
  4. we, who have received the Sacrament (motive for the petition),
  5. Through Christ our Lord (concluding doxological formula).

Simplified into a syllogism with some elaboration/ explanation, the Collect looks like this:  

(A) If God preserved the Blessed Virgin Mary from Original Sin by her Immaculate Conception (which rests upon Christ's Passion, as the principal Collect for the feast day shows us)
(B) And if we have received the fruits of Christ's Passion in Holy Communion,
(C) Then God will effect in us the healing of the wounds of Original Sin (i.e., disordered desires/ concupiscence, a darkened intellect), thereby rendering us more like Mary Immaculate.  

As we saw last week, although Mary's Immaculate Conception and the Sacraments of the Church are very distinct modes of grace, they are nevertheless both rooted in the Paschal Mystery (Jesus' Death and Resurrection). It is very important to note here that, since Mary was never captive to Original Sin, she was never subject to the "wounds," or consequences of Original Sin, i.e., concupiscence (disordered desires) and a darkened intellect (Catechism of the Catholic Church nos. 491-493, and nos. 405, 1264, 1426). These consequences remain in the baptized, however, even after Original Sin has been forgiven. The baptized are nevertheless called to be holy like Mary, promoting us to ask "How will this be?" (cf. Lk. 1:34, RSV). How do we experience healing from these wounds and become holier?

This Collect proposes a correspondence between the grace of Mary's Immaculate Conception and the grace of Holy Communion. As God Himself wondrously provided for Mary's complete holiness in her Immaculate Conception, so too, will God provide for our progressive sanctification in this life by sacramental grace. Thus, this Collect teaches us to trust in the efficacy of the Sacraments for our healing and growth in holiness. The miracle of Mary's Immaculate Conception strengthens our hope in God's divine action on our behalf

It is worth noting that the Catechism uses the phrase "[h]ealing the wounds of sin" in paragraph no. 1695 to refer generally to the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit in the baptized. This work, as we read elsewhere in the Catechism, is particularly manifest in the Liturgy (see CCC nos. 1074, 1104-1109). As we celebrate Gaudete Sunday today, may we rest in the joy in these consoling truths, and trust in the power of the Holy Eucharist and the intercession of Mary Immaculate.


(David Allen)

Mr. David Allen, M.T.S., is the lay Pastoral Associate for our parish of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes.


About Our Parish

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes is Newton and Needham Massachusetts's oldest Roman Catholic Parish. Founded as Saint Mary's Parish in 1870 it was renamed "Mary Immaculate of Lourdes" when the new Church was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day, 1910. In addition to being a regular territorial parish of the Archdiocese of Boston it is also a "Mission Parish" since 2007 with a special apostolate for the Traditional Latin Mass (1962 Missal).

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