Essays/Articles and Scriptural Studies


For this week's meditation on the Collects of the Roman Missal, we consider the Prayer after Communion for the Feast of the Baptism of Our Lord (MR ‘70). Below is the official ICEL translation of this Collect in the third typical edition of the Roman Missal (2010):

"Nourished with these sacred gifts, we humbly entreat Your mercy, O Lord, that, faithfully listening to Your Only Begotten Son, we may be Your children in name and in truth. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”

The result clause of this Collect, “that we may be Your children in name and in truth,” hinges upon the motive clause of this Collect, “(we) faithfully listening to Your Only Begotten Son.” This relationship shows us that listening to Christ is an essential feature of Christian identity. This “faithful listening” to Jesus entails obedience to His commandments, without which one cannot truly be called a Christian, nor really be one, to borrow from the literal Latin wording of the result clause of the Collect. Consider the following Scriptures which teach this truth (all quotations from RSV 2nd Catholic Edition):

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.” (Mt. 7:21)

“My mother and my brethren are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Lk. 8:21)

“If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (Jn. 8:31-32)

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” (Jn. 10:27)

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” (Jn. 14:15)

“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love...This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.” (Jn. 15:10, 12)

“And by this we may be sure that we know Him, if we keep His commandments...he who says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.” (1 Jn. 2:3, 6)

“Little children, let us not love in word or speech but in deed and in truth.” (1 Jn. 3:18)

“All who keep His commandments abide in Him, and He in them. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He has given us.” (1 Jn. 3:24)

As we can see, Jesus calls us to commit ourselves to Him as the real expression of true love for Him. This entails sacrifice and discipline on our part, as with any worthwhile commitment. Jesus showed this commitment and love for the Father especially in His forty days in the desert following His Baptism. Just as Jesus went into the desert after His Baptism, so we, too, quickly move from the celebration of Christ’s Baptism towards our forty day fast.

Septuagesima (Pre-Lent) is only two weeks away (!), so it is not unreasonable to start thinking about what kind of realistic penance and spiritual discipline we might undertake this Lent. Such planning shows that we want to take Lent seriously: we want to heed the command of the Father more perfectly, that is, to listen to Jesus, and therefore, to obey Him.

In addition to her laws of fasting and abstinence, the Church requires us to practice some kind of penance during the forty days of Lent, although the precise way in which we do so is left to our discretion. Whatever we choose as penance, let us approach it with a view toward cultivating greater listening and obedience to Jesus. Ask yourself, “what kind of penance will help me to listen to and obey Jesus more perfectly, and so, be a true child of God?” 

(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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"If you are willing to serenely bear the trial of being displeasing to yourself, then you will be for Jesus a pleasant place of shelter."
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