This prayer goes back a long way in our liturgy. It is first sourced in the Hadrianum (sacramentary given by Hadrian I to Charlemagne in 785-786) where it is a prayer over the people at the end of the Eucharist on Saturday in the second week of Lent. Let’s pray:
Keep your family safe, O Lord, with unfailing care, that, relying solely on the hope of heavenly grace, they may be defended always by your protection. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Outside of the word family, the helping words, the adverbs and adjectives, are the stars of the prayer this weekend.
Here’s what we’re praying about for the family:
The God will keep us safe
We ask for his unfailing care
We rely solely on the hope of heavenly grace and
We are defended always
We also have an Accrue, something to gain. “That” is a conjunction that joins a dependent phrase to an independent phrase. The dependent phrase is only possible with its relation to the independent phrase.
When we ask God to defend us always by his protection, we must rely on his unfailing care. Actually, the words “relying solely” mean “support oneself by.” This made me think about the ways we support ourselves. Yes, we have jobs to support ourselves financially, but when you think about it, the job itself is a gift from God. We have friends who help keep us sane, they, too, are given by God.
But what about the You, the person way down inside you? Have you developed a reliance that is only supported by God? That reliance on God is what makes us family.
Vine’s Dictionary defines family as: all those who are spiritually related to God the Father, He being the Author of their spiritual relationship to Him as His children, they being united to one another in "family" fellowship.
The realization that God is our Father, is sometimes easier than putting our complete trust in Him. As we learn in this prayer, though, God will always be there to defend us.
Lectio the Liturgy: How would you re-write this prayer? If you’re unsure about having the strength to rely on God, read Ephesians 3:14-20. There God tell us how he treats his family.