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Ordinary 26

Treasure

Let us pray (in silence) [that we may run to receive God’s gift of God’s divine life]

Pause

O God, [or God of heaven and earth]
you declare your almighty power
above all by showing mercy and compassion;
grant us the fullness of your grace,
that we, who are running to obtain your promises,
may be partakers of your heavenly treasure;
through Jesus Christ
who is alive with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

The above is part of my attempt to provide a set of collects with history and commentary. It is a prayer prayed by Roman Catholics, Anglicans/Episcopalians, and others – and on the same day.

The earliest occurrence of this collect that we have is as a collect for a Sunday Eucharist in the Gallican Missale Gothicum (no. 477). Then as a collect for a Sunday Eucharist in the Gelasian Sacramentary (no. 1198) [compiled between 628CE and 715CE for priests to use in the titular churches of Rome]. It is included in the supplement to the Hadrianum (compiled by Benedict of Aniane 810-815). In the Gregorian Sacramentary (no. 1159) it is found for the Eleventh Sunday after the Pentecost Octave where it stayed through the Sarum Missal and the various Books of Common Prayer (for the eleventh Sunday after Trinity).

Deus,
qui omnipotentiam tuam
parcendo maxime et miserando manifestas,
multiplica super nos gratiam tuam,
ut, ad tua promissa currentes,
caelestium bonorum facias esse consortes.

The 1549 Book of Common Prayer translates it as
GOD, which declarest thy almighty power, most chiefly in shewyng mercy and pitie; Geve unto us abundauntly thy grace, that we, running to thy promises, may be made partakers of thy heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christe our Lorde.

The primary image is of running swiftly to receive what is freely offered to us. The preamble highlights that God’s almighty power is chiefly shown in God’s redemptive love and compassion (probably a better translation than “pity” for miserando). Parcendo (sparing) and miserando (commiserating) are both gerunds contemporaneous with the present tense of the verb manifestas (you manifest). God spares us, not in response to anything we do, but as a manifestation of God’s almighty power. The collect asks that we, having received God’s grace through sparing and compassion, may have God’s grace multiplied upon us. – “that you may make us sharers of the heavenly goods.” We are now made co-heirs with Christ (2 Peter 1:4). Our response to God’s almighty power, declared chiefly in mercy and compassion, is to run to obtain these promises, which then becomes the reason for God’s fulfilling them through our becoming equal sharers (consortes) of the heavenly treasures, the divine life.

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer revisers altered the sense to salvation becoming a reward for obedience to God’s commandments, rather than the present possession of a free gift.

O God, who declarest thine almighty power most chiefly in showing mercy and pity; Mercifully grant unto us such a measure of thy grace, that we, running the way of thy commandments, may obtain thy gracious promises, and be made partakers of thy heavenly treasure; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Common Worship for the 11th Sunday after Trinity continues this mistranslation

O God, you declare your almighty power
most chiefly in showing mercy and pity:
mercifully grant to us such a measure of your grace,
that we, running the way of your commandments,
may receive your gracious promises,
and be made partakers of your heavenly treasure;
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.

TEC BCP p.234:

O God,
you declare your almighty power chiefly in showing mercy and pity:
Grant us the fullness of your grace,
that we, running to obtain your promises,
may become partakers of your heavenly treasure;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Amen.

The Roman Catholic ICEL’s earlier translation (1973) had:

Father,
you show us your almighty power
in your mercy and forgiveness.
Continue to fill us with your gifts of love.
Help us to hurry towards the eternal life
you promise and come to share in the joys
of your kingdom.

The Roman Catholic new translation 2011:

O God,
who make known your almighty power
above all by pardoning and showing mercy,
bestow, we pray, your grace abundantly upon us,
and make thouse hastening to attain your promises
heirs to the treasures of heaven.
Through our Lord…

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About This Site 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.

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