I have mentioned before that when I study the prayers of the Mass, especially the Collect, I look up the Latin form of the prayer, then take the Latin words into a lexicon to see what the words meant when the prayer was written. This prayer is a shining example of why I do that. This week we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time.
Grant, O Lord, that we may always revere and love your holy name, for you never deprive of your guidance those you set firm on the foundation of your love. 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.
There are a few words that need to be considered in this prayer. Most are in the English translation of the prayer, however, one word in the Latin form of the prayer is not in the English translation.
We ask God to grant that we may always revere. In the Latin form of the prayer, the word used is timor (tee more), it means fear or dread. However, it implies being overwhelmed by someone greater than ourselves.
The word that is not in the English translation is pariter (pa WRIter) and it means equally. We ask God that we will equally revere and love.
The word love is translated from the word amor. Amor refers to an instinctual desire for union with another. We could rewrite this part of the prayer as, “O Lord, may we equally be overwhelmed by You and desire union with You.” It is a balance of living in humility and always being drawn to His love. With reverence and love, we are set firm on the foundation of his love.
The word love shows up again in the prayer, however, this time, it has a different meaning. In the Latin form of the prayer, the word used for this occurrence of the word love, is dilectio, which means esteem, delight, or regard. It is a deep love that is given because of who the other has become to us and it completely changed my first interpretation of the foundation of God’s love.
The best way to describe this foundation of love might be to think of the love that God the Father has for the Son. Jesus, who while He was on earth, equally revered the Father and desired union with Him. The Father has a deep love for the Son because of who He is and firmly placed Him on a foundation of that love.
As I tried to get a sense of what the foundation might look like, Jesus’ Baptism came to mind. The Father demonstrated His greatness when the heavens opened. Those present would have been overwhelmed when they heard God’s voice. “This is My beloved Son. In Him I am well pleased.” When He heard the Father’s voice, Jesus would have felt amor, the instinctual desire for union with another. The love between the Father and the Son was so strong it was visible when the Holy Spirit descended like a dove. The Father was well pleased, he placed Jesus on the foundation of the this love.
The life of Mary fits this prayer perfectly, as well. Her reverence and love for God and the love He had for her changed the world.
This week’s prayer tells us that being placed on this foundation isn’t just for Jesus or Mary, it is for us. The Father has the same love for each one of us and being on this foundation is where He has called to be. The deep love the Father gives us because of who we are to Him is our identity and this cycle of love naturally brings us back to revere and love His holy name.
Thanks for praying with me,