Summary of the Law (said at every Sunday Mass)

Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ saith: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Collects for Good Friday

These are the Collect prayers for Good Friday of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, one of the chief documents of Anglicanism and a major influence, via the current form of the BCP, on the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite. They do not appear in this form in the present-day Anglican Use liturgy for this day; but I'm fond of them, and think them of great literary and theological value. (The word Turk in the third is a general reference to Islam, rather than a national identifier.)

Almighty God, we beseech thee graciously to behold this thy family, for which our Lord Jesus Christ was contented to be betrayed, and given up into the hands of wicked men, and to suffer death upon the cross, who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Almighty and everlasting God, by whose Spirit the whole body of the Church is governed and sanctified: Receive our supplications and prayers, which we offer before thee for all estates of men in thy holy Church, that every member of the same, in his vocation and ministry, may truly and godly serve thee; through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

O merciful God, who hast made all men, and hatest nothing that thou hast made, nor wouldest the death of a sinner, but rather that he should be converted and live: Have mercy upon all Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Hereticks, and take from them all ignorance, hardness of heart, and contempt of thy word; and so fetch them home, blessed Lord, to thy flock, that they may be saved among the remnant of the true Israelites, and be made one fold under one shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.


  1. That first one doesn't ask for very much from God, does it? Just "behold." Hey, God! Lookie here! See us? Amen.

    1. Yes, that is interesting. It's curious to note how much, in Scripture and devotion throughout history, simple attention is treated as what is desired in prayer, worship, &c.: "Lord, hear my prayer," "consider the voice of my complaint." I'm sure that Dante putting the words "Look on us well; we are indeed, we are Beatrice" in the mouth of his beloved at the end of the Purgatorio is imitative of this phenomenon. I think it was C. S. Lewis who pointed out the Christian habit, too, of speaking of granted prayer intentions as being "heard" or "answered" more than as being granted, even though obviously "no" is an answer too. It makes me wonder how much the act of simply attending to the other -- contemplation, or vision, in a way -- is the more proper paradigm for relationships than action of whatever kind.