Almighty ever-living God,
increase our faith, hope and charity,
and make us love what you command,
so that we may merit what you promise.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
The Collect at Mass on Sunday, the 30th Sunday in Ordinary Time, reminds us of the virtues of faith, hope and love.
Those virtues are still most commonly known in Catholic discourse as faith., hope and love. The trio comes from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians – the famous hymn to love of 1 Corinthians 13. But the trio has been rendered differently in the most recent translation of the Missal the Greek work ‘agape’ is translated into Latin as ‘caritas‘, and that word is now rendered in the Missal bythe cognate word ‘charity’.
Interestingly in the new Scripture translation proposed by the Bishops of England and Wales for our use at Mass – Revised Standard Version, 2nd Catholic edition, 2010 – it seems that in 1 Corinthians 13 ‘agape’ will continue to be translated as ‘love’.
Be that as it may, the alternative translation used in the Missal for the present makes us pause and ponder what is meant by ‘charity’, and indeed by ‘love’. No bad thing, for both words come under stress and strain in our everyday talk – as perhaps they ever have and will, until we possess and live them fully in Christ.
That increase in all three virtues is what we prayed for on Sunday, and it remains a fitting prayer for today also.
- In what way do you hope for your faith to be increased? And your hope? And your charity?
Faith, Hope and Charity. Tewkesbury Abbey. (c) 2016, Allen Morris