During this section of our Course of Study, the Brazos Fellows are looking at Alan Jacobs’ wonderful book, The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography. We had a great morning discussing the rhetorical structure, theological depth, and beauty of Thomas Cranmer’s collects, including the collect for Proper 22:
Almighty and everlasting God, who art always more ready to
hear than we to pray, and art wont to give more than either
we desire or deserve: Pour down upon us the abundance of
thy mercy, forgiving us those things whereof our conscience
is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not
worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus
Christ thy Son our Lord; who liveth and reigneth with thee
and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Jacobs helps us see and name the various parts of the collect: the opening salutation to God, the statement of a theological truth, our petition, our aspiration toward which the petition aims, and then the closing recognition that it is Christ who makes this possible.
In light of this structure, we considered how the collect works on us as we pray it. How does the truth ground our petitioning? How does the aspiration named in the collect further illuminate the truth it names? How do the asking and hoping invite us to align our desires with Christ’s?