Thank you for praying with me as we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the 31st Sunday in Ordinary Time. Our prayer today dates back to the year 534 and may have been composed by Pope Vigilius.
To: Almighty and merciful God,
Who: by whose gift your faithful offer you right and praiseworthy service,
Do: grant, we pray, that we may hasten without stumbling to receive the things you have promised.
Through: 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.
In the Who of the prayer, we read about God’s gift. Believe me, I thought for a long time on which of the many gifts that could be. However, when I went to the Latin form of the prayer, I found that the word for gift is munere. This word is defined not only as gift, but also as office and favor.
Notice how the prayer changes when we replace “gift” with “office”. Almighty and merciful God, by whose office your faithful offer you right and praiseworthy service. You can do the same with the word favor.
This description of God is really about who God is in his office as God. Another example can be found in the Lord’s Prayer. Our Father, who art in heaven tells us more about who God is rather than where God is. Because he is in heaven, he is our Father. Because of his office of God, we offer him right and praiseworthy service.
Our prayer asks that we would hasten without stumbling to receive His promises. These three words could sum up our spiritual walk with God: Stumbling, hasten, and promises.
Stumbling. Life happens. Someone may have a heavy burden to carry, someone may be tempted by the next flashy thing that goes by. Sometimes the tripping is self-inflicted. Stumbling blocks are real, and I can almost see the evil one putting them in front of us, hoping that we catch our toe and trip.
Hasten. I call it diligent forwardness. Not only are we running towards God, we are going with earnest, like Mary going to Elizabeth in Luke 1:39. We have a purpose and a need, not only for his promises, we should run to Him when we fall. How many big things in our life would be little things if we would have only hastened to take them to God first?
Promises. Because He is God, because he is a good God, we know that what he has promised will come true. He promises good things to those who love him. He promises to never leave us, and He promises eternal life. To hasten toward those promises is our day-to-day walk with God, or our moment-by-moment run to Him.
Thanks for praying with me.