Essays/Articles and Scriptural Studies
COLLECTS OF THE ROMAN MISSAL - SUNDAY, MAY 6th, 2018 A.D.: FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER EASTER
For today’s meditation on the Collects of the Roman Missal, we consider the Collect for the Fifth Sunday after Easter in the MR’62. Below is the English translation of this prayer in the Angelus Press edition of the Roman Catholic Daily Missal:
“O God, from Whom all good things do come, grant to us Thy suppliants, that by Thine inspiration we may think what is right, and under Thy guidance perform it. Through our Lord, etc. Amen.”
Today’s Collect highlights three very important things about our Catholic life: (1) the benevolence of God’s providence, (2) the intimate interaction between God and the heart and mind of the Christian, and (3) the availability of God’s power and grace for living the Christian moral life.
Firstly, this prayer affirms that God is the author of all that is good. Many people, even Catholics sometimes, are taken in by false logic that ascribes the evil in their lives to God, and so they envision Him as unmerciful and capricious. This prayer, by contrast, asserts what the Scriptures and the Church consistently teach, namely, that God is “in all His words most wonderful, most sure in all His ways!”, to quote the hymn of Blessed John Henry Newman. The Resurrection is the ultimate proof of God’s benevolence, and that He works, and will work, all things for our good (cf. Rom. 8:18-30).
Secondly, the Collect recognizes that the Holy Ghost resides in the body and soul of a Christian in the state of grace (cf. Rom. 8:26-27; cf. 1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19-20). This means that God is constantly present to our hearts and minds, guiding our desires and thoughts, so that they may be in conformity with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Latin texts of Roman Collects often stress God’s action with ablative absolute clauses in the active voice. For example, in today’s Collect, we have “with You inspiring,” and “with You governing,” which the translation renders as “by Thine inspiration” and “under Thy guidance.” The more literal rendering highlights the immediacy of God’s activity in our souls. God helps us to know and to desire what is true and good!
Thirdly, our Collect prays that we might be able to bring God’s good inspirations to a meritorious fruition. The clause “with You governing” highlights the immediacy and primacy of God’s grace. It also implicitly summons us to a ready obedience to Christ’s “New Commandment” of charity (cf. Jn. 13:34). We know that we need God’s grace to do this (cf. Jn. 15:5). God indeed gives to the baptized the supernatural grace to fulfill the “New Commandment” and so become more and more like Christ Himself (cf. Catechism nos. 1266, 1813, 1822-3; cf. St. Augustine, “Treatise on John,” Tract. 65.1-3,). Thus, our Collect alludes to the necessity of baptismal grace, already one of the central themes of the liturgies of Eastertide.
In view of all these things, then, we can see that the prayer recognizes the indispensable power of the risen Lord at work in the minds, hearts, and actions of believers. As such, it coheres nicely with St. Paul’s prayer for his flock in Ephesus: “...that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power in us who believe, according to the working of His great might which He accomplished in Christ when he raised him from the dead…” (Eph. 1:18-20, RSV).
Christ is the Victor, and He promises that His grace at work in us will have the last word, if we persevere therein: “To Him who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (cf. Rev. 2:7, RSV).(David Allen)
|Mr. David Allen, M.T.S., is the lay Pastoral Associate for our parish of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes.