Thanks for joining me as we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time.
God of might, giver of every good gift, put into our hearts the love of your name, so that, by deepening our sense of reverence, you may nurture in us what is good and, by your watchful care, keep safe what you have nurtured. 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.
We’ve talked before about gifts and the giver, how we should love the giver more than the gifts. A gift that we don’t often think about is presented in this prayer, and that is the gift of the love of God’s name. We love God when we love his name because when we say his name, he becomes present. His name is Him, his name is his being.
The prayer this week has an accrue, you know how much I love those. The “Accrue” is something we have to gain. It is a dependent phrase, meaning that our obtaining it depends on what comes before it. In this case, being nurtured and kept safe depends on loving God’s name.
But there’s a hinge this week, and that is that the love of God’s name will deepen our sense of reverence. In the Latin form of the prayer, the word for reverence is “religionis,” which also means a regard for sacred things, devoutness, fear, or apprehension of divine anger. We should not be afraid of God, but we should be afraid of not having God.
It sure seems that today, society has lost its sense of reverence to all things Church. Maybe our familiarity with God replaced our relationship with God.
When we become familiar with someone, or we become over-familiar with them, it’s not hard to begin to take advantage of the relationship. We think that we know God, we set the cruise control on our spiritual life because we’re good enough. We start down a slippery slope to our loss of awe, respect and reverence for almighty God.
We know that God is love, he is merciful, he is kind, and slow to anger. It’s likely it’s that these characteristics of God that make people say, “God loves me, he wants me to be happy, so it’s OK if I ______ (fill in the blank). Or, another one I’ve heard is, “He’s a good God, he’ll forgive me for _____ (fill in the blank).”
Let’s think about this: How long would a marriage last if a husband would say, “My wife is very nice and she really loves me, she won’t mind if I stay out all night.” If you walked in a store and said, “These are nice people, they want me to have this necklace,” you might find yourself in jail.
Not only is that irreverent, it’s also - maybe - arrogant. We expect God to love our plans and our ideas. However, while God is loving and merciful, he is also just. Earlier this week, this verse was in the hymn in my Magnificat’s Morning Prayer and it struck home:
To ruination you condemn
The arrogant and all like them;
They shall receive what is their due,
But help us, Lord, who call on you.
How would society and the Church be changed if each of us would deepen our own reverence to God? What if we want to go to mass instead of have to go? What if we participate in the mass by praying it rather than just being an observer? What would it take to restore a sense of the Sacred to the world? It starts with you and me. We have two jobs and they’re found in Ecclesiastes 12:13: “After all this, there is only one thing to say: Have reverence for God, and obey his commands, because this is all that we were created for.” (GNT)
This week as we Lectio the Liturgy, two things: 1) Open up your bible and allow yourself to be in awe of the creation story in Genesis and in God’s miracles in the Gospels. 2) Meditate on the Gloria. If you found yourself standing before God, what would you say? This prayer would be a good start! It tells us a lot about the awe-filled reverence and worship we should have towards our almighty God.
Thank you for praying with me,