Saturday, December 6, 2008

Stir up...

After its use as a commemoration at Lauds and Mass to-day, the Collect of the first Sunday of Advent was retired for another year. Since it has been used, at least as a commemoration, at Lauds, Mass and Vespers every day, and at every Hour except Prime and Compline on Sunday, Monday and Friday, more than thirty times in fact this week, and as it has much to do with turning from sin and trusting in God's deliverance (as we must do when confessing), it seems good to at least briefly blog about it:

Excita, quæsumus, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni: ut ab imminentibus peccatorum nostrorum periculis, te mereamur protegente eripi, te liberante salvari: Qui vivis...

Stir up, we beseech, Lord, Thy power, and come: that from the impending dangers of our sins, Thou protecting, we may deserve to be freed, and Thou delivering, we may be saved. Who livest...

This Collect was originally addressed to God the Father, but in process of time it was felt that the phrase about Him coming was better treated as an allusion to Christ's advent as our Saviour, and accordingly the ending was changed to that used for prayers addressed to God the Son.

It reminds us that our sins are for us indeed the occasion of pressing and direful perils, both temporal and spiritual, for they entangle us in vice and crime, make us hateful and hated, and deserve most just punishment here and hereafter. What escape? The advent of God's prodigious power: which is so great, it can not merely create and sustain all things in existence, but change a sinner into a saint. If God deigns to free us from the deadly snare of sin, then we are protected indeed from unspeakable disaster; and if He thus liberates us, we shall indeed be saved - what a ground of hope!

Where all was lost, and sin, Satan, death and hell held us fast, and no creature whatever could help or aid us: then came Christ Jesus our Redeemer; Who broke the bonds and paid the debt, erasing it by nailing it to His Cross, and washing away all filth with the effusion of His Precious Blood; and every day and hour and moment we can have access to His salvific might, for are we not very members incorporate in His Body by our Baptism? can we not by prayer inspired by His grace be changed even from a state of damnation to a state of salvation? can we not have physical contact with His most sacred Humanity, the effectual instrument of His Divinity, through His theandric acts in His sacraments? Before us, who deserve nothing, lie available all the means of salvation. Thanks be to God!

All you that thirst, come to the waters: and you that have no money make haste, buy, and eat: come ye, buy wine and milk without money, and without any price.
(Is. lv, 1)

And the spirit and the bride say: Come. And he that heareth, let him say: Come. And he that thirsteth, let him come: and he that will, let him take the water of life, freely.
(Apoc. xx, 17)

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