Gleanings from the Collects: Ninth Sunday after Pentecost

Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour down upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

The seeds of this collect are found in the Leonine sacramentary[1]with revisions appearing in the Gallican[2]and Sarum[3]Missals. It was translated into English in the 1549 Book of Common Prayer. It was Proper 22 in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and is appointed for the 9thSunday after Pentecost in the 2019 BCP.

The collect begins by ascribing to God the attributes of omnipotence and eternity. These are excellent qualities to remember when seeking the LORD because they remind us “with God nothing is impossible.”[4]

Immediately after mentioning God’s attributes that fill us with awe, the collect points us to His Fatherly heart. He is “more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire of deserve.” It fills us with hope and points us to Jesus’ statement, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your Father who is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?[5]

The petition is for God’s mercy to come to us in abundance. His mercy has a two-fold purpose. It erases our sin by “forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid” and it brings about blessings by “giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask.” God’s goodness and mercy truly do follow us all the days of our life. [6]

The sense of our unworthiness, combined with the understanding of God as “almighty and everlasting,” could result in our shrinking back from this or any petition. But we are reminded here that we do not come before the throne of grace in our own merit. Jesus Christ appeared before God as both Priest and Sacrifice.[7]He not only offered atonement for our sins but even now He lives to make intercession for us[8]. We are not worthy but He is and that is why we are able to make this bold petition before our Lord.


[1]7thcentury book of liturgy for the celebrant

[2]7thcentury Missal

[3]11thcentury Missal

[4]Luke 1:37 NKJV

[5]Matthew 7:11 NKJV

[6]Psalm 23

[7]Hebrews 10

[8]Hebrews 7:25

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