Friday, September 07, 2007

Collect for Trinity IV

So now that I've started this so late in Trinitytide, I'll have to throw in some extra posts on collects to bring in some of the best that have already gone past. Here's perhaps the very best one of the liturgical season (though it's hard to choose):

O God, the protector of all that trust in thee, without whom nothing is strong, nothing is holy; Increase and multiply upon us thy mercy; that, thou being our ruler and guide, we may so pass through things temporal, that we finally lose not the things eternal. Grant this, O heavenly Father, for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

C. S. Lewis has had not one but two comments on this. He has Screwtape say, "Nothing is strong. Very strong." This is when he is picturing for Wormwood the patient grown old and sitting around doing nothing, not even needing pleasures to tempt him to damnation anymore--chilling picture.

Lewis's other is in his wonderful little essay "A Slip of the Tongue," where he says he accidentally prayed that he might so pass through things eternal that he would finally lose not the things temporal. Ouch!

I can't think of much more profound to say about this one, but merely that it bears meditation. Historical note: "things temporal" in the Latin collect translated and modified for the Prayer book was "the good temporal things." (I don't have the exact Latin phrase to hand.) That's striking. That we would pass through the good things of this life in such a way that we finally lose not the things eternal.

I'm off. Gotta get to sleep early tonight before the electric company turns the power off for some mysterious reason. Let's hope they don't make a habit of it! At least they forewarned the neighborhood.

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