Having read the Collect of Advent Sunday quite a number of times in the Breviary this week, I was intrigued to hear it read in English at morning Mass at Carmel today, Friday the 6th (since sadly St Nicholas was not commemorated, his being but an optional celebration in the modern West):
Stir up your power, we pray, O Lord, and come, that with you to protect us, we may find rescue from the pressing dangers of our sins, and with you to set us free, we may be found worthy of salvation. Who live and reign…
This struck me as a very able rendering of the Latin:
Excita, quæsumus, Domine, potentiam tuam, et veni: ut ab imminentibus peccatorum periculis, te mereamur protegente eripi, te liberante salvari: Qui vivis et regnas…
However, the traditional Collect of St Nicholas – not reproduced in the Novus Ordo – was evidently a little too strongly worded for sensitive moderns, despite the great need the sinners of this age have of it:
Deus, qui beatum Nicolaum Pontificem innumeris decorasti miraculis: tribue, quæsumus; ut, ejus meritis et precibus, a gehennæ incendiis liberemur. Per…
O God, Who didst adorn the blessed pontiff Nicholas with miracles uncountable, grant, we beg, that, by his merits and prayers, we may be delivered from the fires of hell. Through…
It saddens me to find that what our wicked and sinful age stands most in need of – above all, to be spared Hell, and at the intercession of the saints to be saved through Christ at the last – to have been by overly contented "experts" judged too controversial, when, given the slaughters and every vile crime of the past century, one would think there to be abundant motivation to utter such a plea daily.
As usual, Vetus melius est, "The old is better" – and we have the authority of Pope Francis for calling the traditional Roman Rite the Vetus Ordo, and hence my referring this text of the Gospels to the same.
May I extend to the Russian Catholic parish of Holy Trinity – St Nicholas in Melbourne, every good wish for their patronal feast: though, of course, as they keep to the Julian calendar, they will not serve the Divine Liturgy in his honour until the 19th of December according to the Gregorian.
I note that their services contains a similar prayer to St Nicholas (the 2nd troparion after the heirmos of the 2nd Canon of the 4th Ode at Matins):
Standing before the throne of God, cease thou never to make earnest supplication in behalf of all of us, thy faithful servants, O wise and wondrous Nicholas, that we may be delivered from everlasting fire, from the enemy, from the wicked tongue, and from affliction.
May St Nicholas intercede for us with Christ God, that He save our souls.