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Salt and Light

Another Collect in Common

Salt and Light

Once again, Roman Catholics and Anglicans/Episcopalians share a common collect this coming Sunday (August 30). I am working on producing a full set of shared collects for the church year. My work so far can be found here: Book of Prayers in Common. My rendering for this coming Sunday and the week following is:

Let us pray (in silence) [that what is good within us may flourish]

Pause

God of power and might, [or Faithful God]
source of all good,
graft in our hearts the love of your name,
and bind us more closely to you
so that you nourish the goodness you sow in us
and, by your watchful care,
you tend and guard the good you have nourished;
through Jesus Christ
who is alive with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

The original is:

Deus virtútum, cujus est totum quod est optimum : ínsere péctóribus nostris amórem tui nóminis, et præsta in nobis religiónis augméntum ; ut, quæ sunt bona, nutrias, ac pietátis studio, quæ sunt nutrita, custódias. Per Dóminum…

I provide a commentary here.

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2 thoughts on “Another Collect in Common”

  1. I always enjoy your takes on the collects, Bosco.

    Looking again at your commentary on this prayer, I notice the Cranmerian alteration in the original Gelasian petition that God should nourish the good things within us, making it a request that God should nourish us with good things.

    I imagine that Cranmer wished to remove any idea that there was something “good” in us to begin with that God was merely nourishing. The bare Gelasian “bona” must have smelt to him too much of the Scotist teaching of a “grace of congruity”, which he rejected in his mature theology. (Ashley Null’s “Thomas Cranmer’s Doctrine of Repentance” is so very helpful in clarifying that this was not a simplistic rejection of “works righteousness”, which neither medieval Catholic theologians nor Reformers ever believed in, first or last!)

    Your version accomplishes the same cautious fencing, it seems to me, by expanding the Latin “bona” to “the goodness you sow in us”, which is obviously the intent of the collect (from the first clause).

    My year-long reading kick of F. D. Maurice leads me to ask, though, whether it might be misleading to speak of any goods or goodness “in us” at all, except in the sense that it is only “in me” if I resist every temptation to think of it as “mine”. Cranmer’s reversal, whereby we are fed with goodness instead of becoming “good”, is salutary in its own way, even if it’s not an honest translation!

    1. Just as you enjoy my work on the collects, Jesse, I’m always helped by your wise comments 🙂 Your last paragraph is an important one. I have previously written (I cannot quickly find it) about a person’s irritation with the claim that all goodness in us is due to God, but that badness points to us. Part of the confusion, I think, is, once again, mixing end and means. Our goal is union with God – not merely being good. Blessings.

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