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Loving God

Let us pray (in silence) [that we may love God in all things and above all things]


you have prepared for those who love you
good things which no eye can see,
and which surpass our understanding;
pour into our hearts such longing for you,
that we,
loving you in all things and above all things,
may obtain your promises,
which exceed all that we can desire;
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 attempt at a collect for this coming Sunday. I have chosen the collect used by the Roman Catholic Church. It goes back at least to the Gelasian Sacramentary, is the collect for Trinity 6 from BCP 1549 to 1928, and from that tradition has entered into the collects shared in the Anglican Communion, and between Anglicans, Roman Catholics, and others.

I have previously mentioned, I cannot find mentioned anywhere else my discovery that The Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church share about half the collects for Sundays and major feasts – on the same day. So I am equally confused, now, why this particular collect is used on different days for The Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

Here is my commentary on this collect.

The Latin is:

Deus, qui diligentibus te bona invisibilia praeparasti,
infunde cordibus nostris tui amoris affectum,
ut, te in omnibus et super omnia diligentes,
promissiones tuas, quae omne desiderium superant,

Cranmer’s version is:

GOD, whiche haste prepared to them that love thee suche good thynges as passe all mannes understanding; Powre into our hartes such love toward thee, that we lovyng thee in al thinges, may obteine thy promises, whiche excede all that we canne desyre; Through Jesus Christe our Lorde.

The rejected RC 1998 version is:

For those who love you, Lord,
you have prepared blessings which no eye has seen;
fill our hearts with longing for you,
that, loving you in all things and above all things,
we may obtain your promises, which exceed every heart’s desire.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.

And the current authorised RC version is:

O God, who have prepared for those who love you
good things which no eye can see,
fill our hearts, we pray, with the warmth of your love,
so that, loving you in all things and above all things,
we may attain your promises,
which surpass every human desire.

I would appreciate some feedback on my version, at the top of this post. I have picked up the biblical allusion (1Cor 2:9) in the Latin, translated into the RC version(s), and added it to the Cranmerian approach. I have also picked up the Latin nuance, with its care of different types of love, which may be paraphrased as “you have prepared for those who choose you… pour into our hearts the affect of emotional love, that, choosing you in and above all things…”.

There is a moment of care needed to pray aloud
“that we,
loving you in all things and above all things,
may obtain your promises,”
I tried two alternatives (with and without the “so”):
“(so) that,
loving you in all things and above all things,
we may obtain your promises,”
but settled on the version above – which I have already trialed in large and small gatherings.

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22 thoughts on “Loving God”

  1. interestly your header *in square brackets* includes the words “that we” …may love God – while all the Collects (except the last) include the ‘so’ – *authorized* as it were, by the ‘ut’.
    Somehow, “In order that, loving You…” just doesn’t quite fit…. no matter what punctuation is used.

    1. Thank you Charlie, for your feedback. Very much appreciated – but you write too tight for me to understand your point. Please could you expand your reflection less tersely. Only the last collect has “so” – you appear to write the opposite. Blessings.

  2. you know, having slept on it, I’m not sure that there is any meaningful difference between the two.

    I checked out in my own prayer book; BCP (Canada,1962) and found the following for Trinity 6
    “O GOD, who hast prepared for them that love thee such good things as pass man’s understanding: Pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ ,our Lord.

    …unlike Latin + yours + both R.C.’s but like Cranmer (as one would expect)
    lacks the “no eye can see” part.

    on a somewhat deeper level:
    What is the INTENT? of the ‘Pouring’?
    It is the ‘ donation’ -by God-
    and the’reception’ -by us- of His inexpressibly generous promises.
    …but; how is it that we receive it?
    In these prayers it appears to be through our unconditional love for Him;
    (or maybe ‘total’ is a better word) – *above* all things-.
    Just for interests’ sake lets’ go to ICor 2.9 …’what God has prepared for those *who love him* ‘ – with its’ allusion to Isa.64.4 (God) ‘who works for those who wait for him’.
    These requirements(?) – Cor.+Isa are not so rigorous as the cited Collects
    in/above *all* things.
    For my own part; fulfilling the *all* things requirement,well I’m nowhere near that, yet. I’m definitely one of those who ‘wait upon Him’ and one of the who ‘love Him’. I also take comfort
    in His own words ‘Ask and you shall receive…’ – somewhere in John, I think? –

    This is what runs through my mind when I read through the prayer and have have a couple of cups of coffee so I can arrange it into words from thoughts.
    The Peace of the Lord be always with you.

    1. Thanks, Charlie. What you do with these collects, mull them over, meditate with them, is precisely one of the great values I understand these prayers to have. Blessings.

  3. Paul is quoting “scripture?” in 1 Cor 2:9, but if he is alluding to Isa 64:4 when he states that it is written, he has turned it on its head. We get from Paul his usual pie-in-the-sky-bye-and-bye, but the Hebrew in Isaiah is not referring to the future but the fact that Israel has not seen, know experienced any other “god” who has done as much for them from the past until the present. Which to me is much more in line with the teachings of Jesus about the in breaking, coming of God’s realm.

    How might you recast your collect to capture less pie and more in breaking? 😉

    1. Thanks, Brother David.

      Looking at 1 Cor 2:9, I’m not sure that this is Paul at his “when you die” perspective. I think the prayer as I’ve cast it can be read in a “when you die” way – but it can also be read, IMO, in a “in-breaking” way?

      Certainly Paul’s “quoting” is an issue at this point. And it is not surprising that Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Eusebius, and Cyril of Jerusalem left the Corinthian letters off their list of the Christian canon. Athanasius wanted them in, but not being able to point to the origin of this “quote” caused him a headache in defending his own list.

      Your point is very important, Brother David. If this process is continued, and the resulting collect set is predominantly of the “when you die” perspective, balance will somehow need to be brought to hold together the not-yet and the but-already parts of our Christian faith. IMO.


  4. Bro David; I think you are making somewhat unconscious time-error. The interpretation of “wait” in Isa.64.4 – those who wait for him- they are not just ‘hanging ’round, killing time’ as it were; they wait “upon” Him, they “serve” like Altar “serv-ers” or table “wait-ers”. These verbs are ‘active!’ active sort instead of the inferred sort of ‘ho-hum’ “wait for him” (are-we-there-yet) sort of waiting.
    –‘think of the “Ye Watchers and ye Holy Ones” — those are some ‘active wait-ers!’.

    Hope this helps….
    btw: wasn’t pie-in-the-sky Marx’ line?

    1. I’m not sure what you are on about here Charlie. I am not basing anything on “wait.” Nor am I basing it on the English translation.

      The sense of the Hebrew statement “what God has prepared” is not about a laying up for the future, but all that was done by God before, a sense which is not found in the Greek of Paul’s rendering of the concept. The sense of the Hebrew which includes wait, למחכה, is actually one who is waiting in fear or helplessness for the intervention or salvation from God.

      BTW, I went to graduate seminary in the USA and the pie-in-the-sky is a Southern Statesonianism that I picked up living in Texas. Such as portrayed in the the US gospel hymn “In the Sweet By and by,”

      In the sweet by and by
      We shall meet on that beautiful shore.
      In the sweet by and by
      We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

      lyrics by S. Fillmore Bennett and music by Joseph P. Webster.

      1. This sent me looking for the hymn. Here is a version most folks in the US might find sung as a special music selection in a service or sung as a congregational hymn;


        In looking up the complete lyric, the lyricist has actually rendered both senses of the concept. Storing up a reward for the future in verse one, and praise for all that God has already done in verse three.

        There’s a land that is fairer than day,
        And by faith we can see it afar;
        For the Father waits over the way
        To prepare us a dwelling place there.

        In the sweet by and by,
        We shall meet on that beautiful shore;
        In the sweet by and by,
        We shall meet on that beautiful shore.

        We shall sing on that beautiful shore
        The melodious songs of the blessed;
        And our spirits shall sorrow no more,
        Not a sigh for the blessing of rest.

        To our bountiful Father above,
        We will offer our tribute of praise
        For the glorious gift of His love
        And the blessings that hallow our days.

  5. Bosco (or do you prefer Fr. Bosco?) re: the ‘but-already’ parts – how many Collects have you got to go before you get to I Cor 13.
    And- the various Gospel passages He who has seen Me has seen the Father//I and the Father are One as well as ‘ the Kingdom of Heaven is nigh/within you.

    I’d say you’ve got a fair amount of wiggle room yet, wouldn’t you? no need to panic?

  6. Excellent translation.

    ‘I am equally confused, now, why this particular collect is used on different days for The Episcopal Church and the Roman Catholic Church.’

    I do not know of any one study which documents the whole chronology of the many vagaries of Anglicanism, it does seem that at every twist and turn of the church history concessions were to be made on various points which probably seem largely irrelevant to us now.

    I think the 1976 Episcopal prayer book encorporated Vatican 2, as an intentional revision to a more Catholic liturgy, but maybe the revised Catholic liturgical year ( adopted 1970 ) is different; plus many conservative Episcopalian churches stick with the 1928 prayer book.

    Re. Vatican 2, Sacrosanctum Concilium says ‘no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority.’ This alongside ‘The competent territorial ecclesiastical authority mentioned in Art. 22, 2, must, in this matter, carefully and prudently consider which elements from the traditions and culture of individual peoples might appropriately be admitted into divine worship. Adaptations which are judged to be useful or necessary should then be submitted to the Apostolic See, by whose consent they may be introduced.’

    1. Yes, Tracy, I think that TEC’s BCP took the post-Vatican II collect collection into account, but I am very surprised that I appear to be the first one to notice or comment on this. Blessings.

  7. ‘Wait’ in Isaiah 64 also means ‘longing’, ‘long for’…

    1 Cor 2 is a good reminder for this very discussion: ‘Which things we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. ‘

  8. Bro David: apparently my reply got lost in ‘electron-land.’ So: Thanks for reminding me about the hymn. 🙂 My seminary was in Toronto. Can’t follow up the lamed… – my dictionary is my basement locker and I usually use the Septuagint anyway.Easier to read, older than Masoratic text.

    Statesonianism ???

    Peace 🙂

    1. Statesonians a political, as well as, a cultural thing.

      The name in Spanish for folks from the Untied States of America (los Estados Unidos de America) is Estadounidense, United Statesonians. Similar to the word for Canadians, Canadiense. Statesonian is my shorthand.

      The issue is that although many Canadians have bluntly stated they do not want to be referred to as Americans, many folks in Latin America feel that the name for folks from the Americas has been usurped by the USA. The proof of which is in the question, “Folks from which nation are the Asians,the Africans or the Europeans?”

  9. I’m not surprised Bosco; not many people are looking closely at comparative religion. Even in-depth scholars are often only considering their own apologetics.

    There’s something deep in interfaith of christianity though: I’m convinced ( against a background of clamouring sarcastic angry opponents maybe ) it’s the way forward for the churches, the religions.

    All religion is syncretic, the more we look the more we see it!

  10. hi Tracy: Br.David &I have “erred and strayed…like lost sheep” from the topic, a bit; -‘ftnt’ing e.o. a bit in fun ( I hope in fun? Bro) anyway, time for back to the point, I should think.
    Oh. re: “erred and strayed…” — if you are Canajn or I-nglish you’ll undoubtedly recognize it from the Gen. Confn. prior to Morn. Prayer.

  11. oh my..:-( I am a misurebelle sinner. Snaffled a copy of our parish Book of Alternate Services on ‘long-term-loan’ just as I was leaving for home…naughty,naughty Charlie! Well, at least now I can compare Collects….
    oh yeah? we are Canajuns, eh? — just so its’ clear, yunnerstand…

  12. Tracy: best you stick with the first three for the time being; it would be most -*in*convenient- to be stuck with Euro-pean sovereign in*debtedness just now. 🙂

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