Sunday, March 12, 2006

Collect for the Second Sunday in Lent (BCP, p. 127)

Almighty God, who seest that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; Keep us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls; that we may be defended from all adversities which may happen to the body, and from all evil thoughts which may assault and hurt the soul; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth the Thee and the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Boy, do we ever need to hear a collect such as this one! How many times do we hear in our semi-pelagian world that we can do anything that we set our mind to, and that we can change our lives if we just listen to what Oprah and Dr. Phil have in store for us.

Cranmer knew right from the beginning that St. Paul was right on when he said that he couldn't figure out what was going on. He was doing everything he wasn't supposed to be doing, and he wasn't doing the things that he knew in his heart he ought. What was the problem? He was a saint for crying out loud! If he couldn't get it, how on earth are we going to?

We are going to get it by doing exactly what the petition section of this collect begs. We are going to cry out for mercy to the Almighty for His protection against all assaults of the enemy, both to our body and to our soul. We pray that no adversity happens to our bodies and he even goes so far as to beg for double protection from attacks against the soul: those things which will both hurt and assault.

We can do nothing of ourselves to help ourselves. I am sure living proof of that. However, I know from where my help comes, and it comes from calling upon the Blessed Name of our Lord.

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