Friday, March 8, 2013

a Celtic Collect for Lent

This has been the collect all week assigned in the St. James Devotional, and I'm finding that now, halfway through Lent, I am almost able to pray it and mean it:
Grant, we beseech Thee, loving Father, that we who are disciplined by the Lenten fast may find our worldly desires weakened, and our desire for heaven rendered more fervent. This we seek of Thy mercy in the name of Thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who with Thee and Thy Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth one God for ever and ever. Amen.
Very grateful for a devotional like this, that constantly prods my reluctant self into saying good words to God, and asking for the things my sinful self wishes I wouldn't, and being encouraged in ways my doubting self would never manage on her own. Collects like this redirect me. I think they're proof - a small bit of proof out of a great, great body of proof - of the truth that the church really is Christ's body. The saints write prayers like this down so that other Christians can be taught and encouraged and it works.

We aren't left alone. Even though we are to love God with every single piece of our selves, he doesn't leave us to love alone - we're never alone. And his great generosity shows in the fact that not only are we never alone because he is with us, we're also never alone because he's also given us this great communion of saints - this huge, geography-and-time-spanning family - who show us by word and example how to love him. And remind us that he really does love us.

So grateful. I'm so tired today, and so tempted to be discouraged, but then I read a collect like this, and pray it, and think about the unknown saint who wrote it, and the fact that God knew that I would read it however many years later - that he planned that, and who knows how many other not-coincidences! how many other people have been heartened by this! and this is just one short, lonely paragraph out of millions and millions and millions of words penned by the saints! - and I'm filled with hope, and I'm reassured, and I'm grateful.

So, Amen. Amen: may our desire for heaven be rendered even more fervent. Amen, and amen.

Peace of Christ to you,
Jessica Snell

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