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Sunday 26 June 2022

Homeless Jesus

In the conversation for the podcast that will be shared this week, it was a delightful surprise to me how much people appreciate the reflections on a weekly collect. As far as I know (correct me, please) there is no shared traditional collect this coming Sunday. The one used by Roman Catholics this coming Sunday (hence, the largest number of people using a particular collect) is one that has been used since the renewal of Vatican II and it originates from the Ambrosian Sacramentary of Bergamo (10th-11th Century).

So, as part of preparing for blog posts, I thought I would see which traditional collect I hadn’t reflected on yet. And my research ended up with the cost of discipleship and the impact of taking liturgy seriously. If you would rather get going preparing for Sunday, here are resources beyond this site:

Textweek
Girardian reflections on the lectionary
Resourcing Preaching Down Under

Ah. You are still here.

I began with the Sarum Missal collect for Trinity 10:

Pateant aures misericordiae tuae, Domine, precibus supplicantium: et, ut petentibus desiderata concedas; fac eos, quae tibi sunt placita, postulare.

Which Cranmer translated for BCP 1549 as:

LET thy merciful eares, O Lord, be open to the praiers of thy humble servauntes; and that they may obteine their peticions, make them to aske suche thinges as shal please thee; Through Jesus Christe our Lorde.
1549

The collect goes back to the Gelasian Sacramentary with a similar one in the Leonine Sacramentary. We notice reference to Romans 8:26-27 – asking God for things that accord with God’s will.

I am unaware (please tell me) of any contemporary usage of this collect other than, it has been added, since 2002, for Roman Catholics, as an optional Prayer over the People on Saturday of the Second Week of Lent:

May the ears of your mercy be open, O Lord,
to the prayers of those who call upon you;
and that you may grant what they desire,
have them ask what is pleasing to you.
Through Christ our Lord.

UPDATE – thanks Andy (comment below). Here is the Church of Ireland version:

Let your merciful ears, O Lord,
be open to the prayers of your humble servants;
and that they may obtain their petitions,
make them to ask such things as shall please you;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Church of Ireland BCP 2004

The Church of England also uses this text. [End of UPDATE].

Supplicantium is from supplico, formed from sub and plico“to fold, double up”, giving a medieval image of one bent or kneeling in prayer. Postulo is “to ask, demand, require, request, desire”.

This collect is seeking that we pray for changes and transformations in our lives that accord with God’s will, with God’s Word.

Before I discovered the strongest story around this collect, I also found it has been put to music:

Let thy merciful ears – Attributed to Thomas Mudd (c.1619-1667)

Also here and here.

I would make a contemporary translation something like:

May the ears of your mercy, O God,
be open to our prayers,
and, so that you might grant the things we yearn for,
lead us to desire the things which are pleasing to you,
through Jesus Christ, our Saviour
who is alive with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
Amen.

I have regularly highlighted that the structure of a collect can be described as:

A collect is a short prayer which may have five parts (* essential) – my five titles will help you remember this:
1 YOU* – the addressing of God
2 WHO – what God has done or is like that indicates why we are confident when we make our request
3 DO* – what we would like God to do
4 TO – what we expect to happen when God fulfils our request
5 THROUGH*… Jesus…

As always, familiarity and agility leads to more flexibility. There is some difference in the structure of this collect:

3. May the ears of your mercy,
1. O God,
3. be open to our prayers,
4. and, so that you might grant the things we yearn for,
lead us to desire the things which are pleasing to you,
5. through Jesus Christ,…

Edith Stein – Teresia Benedicta a Cruce in 1938–39

On 26 July, 1942, Christian churches in the Netherlands, in different ways, were protesting the treatment of Jews. In all Roman Catholic Churches, a pastoral letter by the Dutch Episcopate was read aloud. The readings of that Sunday were quoted. The message concluded with words from the collect:

Pateant aures misericordiae tuae, Domine, precibus supplicantium. That the ears of your mercy, Lord, may be open to the prayers of those who cry to you.

For a week, the people of the Netherlands held their breath as there was a deafening silence from the occupying forces. And then came the response:

Since the Catholic bishops have interfered in something that does not concern them, deportation of all Catholic Jews will be speeded up and completed within the coming week. No appeals for clemency shall be considered.”

The Commanding Officer of Security Police

On 2 August, 1942, the Gestapo arrested all Catholics of Jewish descent in the Netherlands, calling Catholic Jews “our worst enemies.” One of them was Edith Stein, a Carmelite nun with the religious name of Teresia Benedicta a Cruce. She was Jewish and became agnostic as a teenager, who, as an adult, became a lecturer in philosophy. It was reading Teresa of Avila that led her to Christianity. She was baptised and joined the Carmelites. In 1938 she was moved to the Carmel in Echt in the Netherlands. On Sunday, 2 August 1942, the Sunday after the public reading of the bishops’ pastoral letter, she and her (biological) sister (also a convert and a Carmelite) were sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp, where they were murdered in a gas chamber on 9 August 1942. She was canonised in 1998 and is regarded as a patron saint of Europe.

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6 thoughts on “Sunday 26 June 2022”

  1. Oh ye of little faith!

    The Church of Ireland retains it as the Collect for the Tenth Sunday after Trinity, in both 1662 and modern versions:
    Let your merciful ears, O Lord,
    be open to the prayers of your humble servants;
    and that they may obtain their petitions,
    make them to ask such things as shall please you;
    through Jesus Christ our Lord.

    You can download our collects and post-communions at https://www.ireland.anglican.org/prayer-worship/book-of-common-prayer/2004-texts

      1. Interesting! I will dig up my Alternative Prayer Book at some stage, but from memory it followed the ASB collects most of the time.

        We had one of Anglicanism’s finest liturgists in Brian Mayne, the editor of the Irish BCP 2004. He composed more than a few of our modern collects, and what Brian understood – for he is no longer with us – was how to write collects and liturgy that scanned, were idiomatic, and yet also timeless. He would have been dangerous on ELLC.

        1. Thanks, Andy. Your responses are exactly what I hope for when I seek wider input to expand what I know and express in a post. I will consider making a separate page for this collect and including it in my Book of Prayers in Common. Blessings.

    1. Thanks! Engagement like yours, Andy, is exactly what I hope for so that information can be brought up to date. Blessings.

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