Collect for the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time
O God, protector of those who hope in you,
without whom nothing has firm foundation, nothing is holy,
bestow in abundance your mercy upon us
and grant that, with you as our ruler and guide,
we may use the good things that pass
in such a way as to hold fast even now
to those that ever endure.
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 is firm and clear. God protects, and without him there is nothing holy, nothing secure.
The Collect also says that the good things that God can offer are not ours willy-nilly. God is these things for those who hope in him. God is these things who will accept him as rule and guide (kingship and kingdom are major themes of this Sunday’s readings.
The Collect is a prayer that we will not put off for some tomorrow what we can embrace and seek to live by today – the life of the Kingdom here on earth.
Too often distractions come all to easily, as the following story of St Bernard of Clairvaux tells.
Bernard was riding his horse up into the Alps to give a retreat, and as he passed a farmer along the road he heard a loud grunt. He stopped to look down at the him, and the farmer remarked, “I envy you, with nothing to do but pray while I have to kill myself working in this rocky soil.”
Bernard said, “Well, praying can be even harder work that digging around those stones.”
“I doubt that very much,” the man said, “With that beautiful horse and the gorgeous saddle, what do you know of hardship?”
Up till then Bernard hadn’t given any attention to his mount. He said, ”It is a beautiful horse, isn’t it? I’ll tell you what, if you can say the Lord’s Prayer from beginning to end without taking your mind off it, I’ll give you this horse.”
“That’s so generous of you,” the man said; and he began praying, “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be…do I get the saddle too?”
~ Translation of the Collect: English translation of The Roman Missal © 2010, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved..
~ Commentary: (c) 2020, Allen Morris
~ Photograph: St Peter’s, Rome. (c) 2014, Allen Morris
~ Story found here
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