Let us pray (in silence) [that we may allow God to steer our lives]
Lord, [or O God]
may your ceaseless mercy
cleanse and defend your church,
and, since it cannot stand firm without you,
guide and govern it always by your goodness;
through Jesus Christ
who is alive with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
This is my rendering of the Latin Collect from the Gelasian Sacramentary (#1218), Gregorian supplement (#1174) for the sixteenth Sunday after (the) Pentecost (octave) – in other words where it remained in the Sarum Missal (Trinity 16) all the way through BCP (1928) and the Tridentine Missal into the Roman Catholic Extraordinary Form today. After Vatican II, for the Ordinary Form, it was moved to Monday 3rd week of Lent:
Ecclesiam tuam, Domine, miseratio continuata mundet et muniat: et quia sine te non potest salva consistere; tuo semper munere gubernetur.
This has much poetic sound – note the k, m, n sounds.
munus a service, office, post, employment, function, duty.
munio (muniat) to build a wall around, to defend with a wall, to fortify, defend; to guard, secure, strengthen, support (munio from moenia walls) also to open a road (viam munire).
consisto to stand still, stand, halt, stop, make a stop, taking a stand, consistency.
guberno is “to steer or pilot a ship”. Logically, it also means “to direct, manage, conduct, govern, guide”.
So, literally, something like:
Let Your continuous compassion, cleanse and defend Your Church, Lord, and because without you it cannot continue to stand, may it forever be governed by Your grace.
With allusions to boat images – the church as the boar…
Cranmer in 1549 had this as:
LORD, we beseche thee, let thy continual pitie clense and defende thy congregacion; and, because it cannot continue in safetie without thy succoure, preserve it evermore by thy helpe and goodnes; through Jesus Christ our Lorde.
1662 rendered congregation (ecclesia) as “Church” because of the Puritan understanding of “congregation”.
BCP (TEC) Proper 13:
Let your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your Church;
and, because it cannot continue in safety without your help, protect
and govern it always by your goodness; through Jesus Christ our
Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for
ever and ever. Amen.
God of mercy,
free your Church from sin
and protect it from evil.
Guide us, for we cannot be saved without you.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
In the failed 1998 English Missal translation:
we pray that your endless mercy
may cleanse and protect your Church;
and, since it cannot stand firm without you, guide and govern it always by your grace.
Grant 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.
May your unfailing compassion, O Lord,
cleanse and protect your Church,
and, since without you she cannot stand secure,
may she be always governed by your grace.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.