Saturday, September 15, 2007

Collect for the week--Going back to Easter IV

I've decided to call it "collect for the week" when I'm fudgin'. This one is all the way back from Easter IV:

O Almighty God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men; Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

I researched all this years ago and have not looked it up since, but as I recall, the phrase "who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men" was added after the Protestant Reformation, while the rest of it was translated from one of the Latin liturgies. The phrase does have a Calvinist ring to it, but you don't need to be a card-carrying Calvinist to echo the idea: How many times do we try to order our own unruly wills and affections and find that we're right back where we started from? I especially find this to be true when it comes to resenting a wrong done to me in the past. It really is true: You can control your actions, but you can't control your feelings. But God can.

Here again, too, is the theme from the collect I quoted last week: If we love what God commands and desire what He actually promises, as opposed to what we might want, we will not be disappointed.

And there is the inimitable Prayer Book phrasing--"the sundry and manifold changes of the world." Boy, is that ever true. Being emotionally conservative, there are few things I hate more than change, but there are few things more inevitable. Small things: the wallpaper is coming off the walls in my kitchen to such an extent that I'm going to have to have it replaced, which will mean also new linoleum...I hate doing that sort of stuff. And big guys in and out for days doing the work, too. Big things: One loses friends over time. It's a sad thought to remember all the people who have passed out of my life, whether through some actual rupture or just gradually. But this world is not my home and isn't where "true joys are to be found," not even in human friendships.

Autumn thoughts, on a very beautiful autumn day.

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