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Epiphany – Catholics and Anglicans share prayer

Once again Episcopalians (Anglicans) and Roman Catholics will pray the same prayer.

Deus, qui hodierna die Unigenitum tuum gentibus stella duce revelasti: concede propitius; ut, qui jam te ex fide cognovimus, usque ad contemplandam speciem tuae celsitudinis perducamur. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, Filium tuum; qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

This collect originates from the Gregorian Sacramentary (no. 87), and is translated as

Father,
you revealed your Son to the nations
by the guidance of a star.
Lead us to your glory in heaven by the light of faith. Through…

Roman Catholic (ICEL)

O God, by the leading of a star
you revealed your Son Jesus Christ to the gentiles;
grant that your Church may be a light to the nations,
so that the whole world may come to see
the splendour of your glory;

through Jesus Christ our Lord
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.
Amen.

NZPB p. 560

O God,
who by the leading of a star
manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth:
mercifully grant that we,
who know you now by faith,
may at last behold your glory face to face;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Common Worship (Church of England)

O God,
by the leading of a star
you manifested your only Son to the Peoples of the earth:
Lead us, who know you now by faith,
to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

BCP (USA) TEC p. 214

Epiphany, “Twelfth Day” – ie. the twelfth day from Christmas focuses on the Magi and the star. The three gifts led to the tradition that there were three wise men – although the text does not give a number. It is also possible that these were not gifts, but that Matthew is presenting these astrologers as giving up their inappropriate practices on encountering the Christ child, and hence leaving behind the tools of their craft.

Attempts at dating the “star” misses the story’s point that it moved in a quite un-astronomical way to indicate the birthplace precisely.

Epiphany means “manifestation” or “appearance” as we celebrate the manifestation of Christ in the world. We have this celebration at least from some Christian groups in the second century. January 6 was also the birthday of Osiris. Epiphany was associated with the wise men, the baptism of Christ (cf. the Nile’s significance in the Osiris cult), and the first miracle at Cana.

There we read”…that we who know you now by faith may be brought to the contemplation of your Majesty by sight.” an insight also in 2 Corinthians 5:7 and comparing the wise men’s leading by the sight of a star with our being led to seeing God by the gift of faith.

Some, particularly around Christmas and Epiphany, still follow a practice of several collects at the start of the Eucharist. This site advocates for a bidding, silent prayer of the community collected by a single collect prayed aloud by the presider and affirmed in the “Amen” of the gathered community.

As well as the shared feast of Christ the King, I have discovered four other days (and week following) that Anglicans and Catholics pray the same prayer:

October 26
October 12
October 5
August 31

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Rev. Bosco Peters Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.