Essays/Articles and Scriptural Studies
COLLECTS OF THE ROMAN MISSAL - PENTECOST
Missale Romanum 1962 (MR '62)
For this week’s meditation on the Collects of the Roman Missal, we turn to today’s Collect in the MR’62. The following English translation is taken from the Angelus Press edition of the Roman Catholic Daily Missal:
“O God, Who this day hast taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Ghost, grant that by the gift of the same Spirit we may be always truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolation. Through our Lord...in the unity of the same Holy Ghost...etc. Amen.”
The feast of Pentecost celebrates the Person and divine action of the Holy Spirit, who draws people to faith in Christ through his Church, and indwells the souls of the baptized by grace. Our Collect’s ascription clause, as well as its dual petition, reflect this two-fold work of His. Let us focus especially on the first petition.
It is possible for us to render the first petition “that we may be always truly wise” in the following alternative ways: “that we may understand those things which are right,” or even “that we may taste those things which are right.” It would appear that this phrase could very well be an oblique reference to one of the rites in the baptismal liturgy, in which the priest gives the infant or the adult catechumen a taste of blessed salt prior to approaching the baptismal font. This taste of salt symbolizes the gift of faith and the spiritual savoring of divinely revealed truths (cf. Mt. 5:13; Col. 4:6).
Salt is a fitting analogy for the gift of faith for two reasons. Firstly, we take delight in food that is seasoned with salt (and often crave more of it). Secondly, salt possesses a preservative quality, protecting food from going bad. Therefore, in light of these reasons, which are reflected in the stated meaning of salt in the baptismal rite, we are asking God that His Holy Spirit may help us to delight in the understanding of divinely revealed truths, and, by extension, to desire them more, and so be preserved in the truth and protected from error. The Holy Spirit is the One who enables all of this to happen in our minds and hearts by His divine grace.
The basic elements of our Collect reflect the fulfilled promises of Jesus at the Last Supper. Consider the following excerpts from St. John’s Gospel, and note my comments in the brackets:
(1) "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth...you know Him, for He dwells with you, and will be in you” (Jn. 14:16-17, RSV). [The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force, but the third Person of the Trinity, who indwells the baptized by His grace.]
(2) “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” [.....] “When the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all the truth...He will glorify Me, for He will take what is mine and declare it to you” (Jn. 14:26 and Jn. 16:13-14, RSV). [The Holy Spirit always assists the Church in her understanding of the revelation given her by Christ and empowers her in its transmission.]
(3) “But when the Counselor comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, He will bear witness to Me; and you also are witnesses, because you have been with me from the beginning” (Jn. 15:26-27, RSV). [The Holy Spirit transmits the Gospel especially through the ecclesiastical hierarchy Jesus instituted, i.e., through the teaching office of the Pope and the Bishops. This divinely-instituted structure rests firmly upon the historical fact of the apostles having been eye-witnesses to Jesus’ Life, Death, and Resurrection. It rests likewise upon the historical and sacramental reality of apostolic succession.]
|Mr. David Allen, M.T.S., is the lay Pastoral Associate for our parish of Mary Immaculate of Lourdes.