Thank you for joining me as we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time.
O God, who cause the minds of the faithful to unite in a single purpose, grant your people to love what you command and to desire what you promise, that, amid the uncertainties of this world, our hearts may be fixed on that place where true gladness is found. 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.
The first thing to notice is that the “who” of this week’s prayer is a bit different. It doesn’t give us a name or description of God or something he’s done. Instead, it tells us something that God can accomplish in his faithful: unite them to a single purpose. This is not one thing everyone has to agree on, it isn’t our purpose, it’s God’s.
The prayer tells us that the single purpose is to love what God commands and desire what he promises.
These are some great verbs: love and desire.
Love is an act of the will. It’s not a feeling or emotion. It’s a decision. To love what God commands is to choose to love the commands. But what if I don’t like God’s commands? In Scripture, First John 5:3 tells us that God’s commands are not burdensome. How can that be? Because when we love God, we are happy with what He gives us, and we know He gives good things.
Desire is defined as a strong feeling, or an emotion, to move the will. Our desire must be great enough to make us willing do something to get what we desire. I’ll say that again: Our desire must be great enough to make us willing do something to get what we desire. Here’s a couple examples: bank robbers and going to Target. Bank robbers desire money so much that they’re willing to risk getting put in jail to get it. Which is way more risky than going to Target. Sometimes I have a desire to go to Target. The nearest Target is 50 minutes away. Most of the time, my lack of desire to spend almost two hours driving is stronger than my desire to go to Target, so I stay home.
How much do you desire God’s promises? Sometimes things get so busy, or something comes along that takes our focus off of what God has for us and wants to do for us. Perhaps those things are called “uncertainties of this world.”
Here, the word “cause” (efficis in Latin) means bring to pass or bring about. I thought a lot about how God would bring about this single purpose, then it sunk in. God uses the uncertainties of this world. When life gets hard we turn to God and we learn to love his commands and desire his promises. In that purpose, we find true gladness.
This week I asked God what command and promise he had for me. The command he gave me was to love him with all my heart, soul, and mind. The promise was that his grace would supply all my needs.
Lectio the Liturgy: Find a quiet place and focus on God. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you hear. Ask God for a command and a promise he wants for you today. Write down the first spontaneous thoughts that go through your mind. The thoughts that you know didn’t come from you are from God. (These thoughts will be uplifting, comforting to you.)
You will now have a word from God, just for you, to strengthen you through the uncertainties of your day.
Thank you for praying with me,