web analytics


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


God of power and might,
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.

The above is my reworking of the collect shared by Roman Catholics and Episcopalians/Anglicans this coming Sunday and the week following. Arriving at the above has been for me a long, prayerful process – a type of lectio for me. I am very happy to receive comments and also suggestions for improvement.

The original was

Deus virtutum, cuius est totum quod est optimum:
insere pectoribus nostris amorem tui nominis,
et praesta in nobis religionis augmentum;
ut, quae sunt bona, nutrias, ac pietatis studio,
quae sunt nutrita, custodias. Per Dominum . . .

Cranmer in 1549 had this as

LORDE of all power and might, whiche art the author and gever of all good thynges; graffe [graft] in our hartes the love of thy name, increase in us true religion, norishe us with all goodnes, and of thy great mercy kepe us in the same; Through Jesus Christe our Lorde.

I have had a commentary on this collect here.

The RC version is

God of might, giver of every good gift,
put into our hearts the love of your name,
so that, by deepening our sense of reverence,
you may nurture in us what is good
and, by your watchful care,
keep safe what you have nurtured.

The BCP(TEC) version is

Lord of all power and might,
the author and giver of all good things:
Graft in our hearts the love of your Name;
increase in us true religion;
nourish us with all goodness;
and bring forth in us the fruit of good works;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever. Amen.


“Deus virtutum” is “Lord of hosts”. Cf. Psalm 80:8, “Deus virtutum, converte nos, Et ostende faciem tuam, et salvi erimus” – “God of Hosts, turn us back, let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.” Psalm 80:15 , “Deus virtutum, converte, respice de caelo”; Psalm 80:20 “Domine, Deus virtutum, converte nos.”

Cranmer makes this Lord of all power and might, I follow the ecumenically agreed Sanctus translation. [I was tempted to “God of virtue”, but so far have been talked out of it by those who know Latin better…]

cujus est totum quod est optimum “of whom is all that is good (superlative)”

in-sero can mean to sow, plant, or graft in
name – nature

et praesta in nobis religionis augmentum – ‘and give growth to religion in us. I have gone back to the root meaning of religion (religare “to bind fast”)

ut quae sunt bona nutrias – “that you may nourish (literally suckle – NB feminine image) those things which are good”. Cranmer, and those following, are trying to avoid giving the impression, even though we have already said God is source of all good, of the idea that we may be source of some good. I have done this by echoing insere as “sow”.

Similar Posts:

5 thoughts on “Goodness”

  1. Very interesting as always, Bosco. I appreciate your efforts. I was surprised and then impressed by the idea that “religionis augmentum” could be understood as being bound more closely to God. (After all, what else can “increase of religion” mean?) Some good gardening imagery here: grafting, sowing, nourishing (as with rain, cf. Vulgate of Isa. 44:14), tending (by the husbandman).

    After a couple of readings of your version, my ear still wants a “may” before “nourish” and “tend” — but it’s so unusual for us to think of “may/may not” applying to God Omnipotent! (My five-year-old daughter currently phrases all requests as follows: “Daddy, may you buy me an ice cream cone?” “I may, but I’m not going to.”)

    1. Thanks, as always, Jesse. Your point about “may” is very helpful – I am going to think harder about that, and try it aloud more with that alternative. It is good the gardening images come through. I think that there are also fatherhood resonances. Blessings.

  2. Not much to add to your as usual excellent interpretations except in middle english graffe as engrave, Latin insere as introduce?

    Love ‘let us pray ( in silence )’

    Not enough silence for me in prayers ( or anything else requiring contemplation ) these days!

  3. Perhaps someone could refresh my long-dormant Latin catacomb with an explanation of just how ‘virtutus’ becomes ‘host(s)’ – presumably ‘virtuti?’
    If someone had said to me “Lord God of Hosts” I would have immediately thought in terms of Angels, Archangels, and all the -Powers- of Heaven — but are the latter not the ‘potentati’ of whom God is the Lord Omnipotens?
    Or off on another tack; I’m not sure where – I can’t find it my concordance – but isn’t some reference to “Thrones, Dominations, Virtues and Powers” — presumably the heavenly Host…?
    These are great discussions, but perhaps just a word of introduction would be virtuous? ____ sorry, couldn’t resist 🙂

    1. Thanks, Charlie. It would be hard to know where to stop with an introduction. What is a collect? How is a collect structured and used? NZ’s moving away from the collect structure. My own reflections on collects (linked from within this post). My attempt to reboot shared collects… Blessings.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.