Thank you for joining me as we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the 15th Sunday of Ordinary Time.
O God, who show the light of your truth to those who go astray, so that they may return to the right path, give all, who for the faith they profess are accounted Christians, the grace to reject whatever is contrary to the name of Christ and to strive after all that does it honor. 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.
Our prayer starts out with two paths. The right path is illumined by God’s truth. His truth leads to moral righteousness. God’s truth gives us the understanding that makes it possible for us to act justly, that people will know we are followers of Christ.
The wrong path, then, is the way of error, shrouded in darkness, where God’s light does not shine.
In the Latin prayer, the verb “accounted” is censentur, which shares the same root of the word census. It means to be counted, or enrolled. Another one of the definitions of the word is to be distinguished for some quality. The petition of the prayer is for those who are enrolled, or distinguished, by their profession of faith in Christ.
We find opposites again in the Do of the prayer, when we ask God for the grace to reject whatever is contrary to His name and for the grace to strive after all that honors it.
Reject has a great meaning. It means to spit out or spit back (respuere). If you’ve ever watched a baby take their first bite of food, you know what this looks like. A tiny spoonful of food goes in their mouth, and it comes right back out. It’s an interesting way to think about rejecting what is hostile to Christ. Reject the bad and strive after, pursue or run after what brings honor to God.
So, what is the whatever? The word whatever in English has come to mean no matter what, or it doesn’t matter. In the prayer, however, it is all-inclusive. Whatever is every thought, every word, every inclination and every deed.
We ask God to give us the grace to reject every thought, word, inclination and deed that is hostile to Christ and for us to pursue every thought, word, inclination and deed that will bring Christ honor.
Lectio the Liturgy: Rejecting what is hostile to Christ can look like many things. There are the obvious things like not reading improper books or watching inappropriate movies, and there are the not-so-obvious things like the negative things we say about ourselves. In the second reading this weekend from Ephesians, Paul tells us who we are: holy, adopted, redeemed, forgiven, chosen. Condemning ourselves, since we are God’s children, does not bring him glory.
This week, keep a journal, with paper or a note on your phone, and write down every negative comment that you say about yourself. After each comment, jot down one of the attributes listed from Ephesians 1:3-14 (also listed above). We exist for God’s glory! The best place to begin rejecting what is contrary to God is within our selves.
Thank you for praying with me,