Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Collect for the Fifth Sunday after Easter, commonly called Rogation Sunday (BCP, p. 175)

O LORD, from whom all good things do come; Grant to us thy humble servants, that by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that are good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

I almost hate to admit this, but growing up a cradle Episcopalian, I never remember Rogation Sunday or the Rogation Days at all in my upbringing or catechesis. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia (newadvent.org) there were two sets of Rogation Days (major and minor). The major being April 25 which actually preceded the Feast Day of St. Mark on the Kalendar, and the minor days being the three days preceding Ascension Day. These days were set apart for fasting and prayer to help "appease God's anger at man's transgressions, to ask protection in calamities, and to obtain a good and bountiful harvest" (www.newadvent.org/cathen/13110b.htm).

The word rogation comes from the Latin rogare which means "to ask" (www.fisheaters.com/customseastertide3.html). It is interesting to note what we are asking God for in our Collect. We ask God to change our thoughts. We do not ask Him to change our actions, or our wills, but rather, that He change our thoughts. We acknowledge that everything good proceeds from the hand of God, and that we might recognize that and with God's help, order our thoughts to align with His. Why target our thoughts? Because our actions will stem directly from our thoughts.

Change my thoughts, O LORD. Help me to think on those good things which point directly to your goodness. Let those who see the actions which stem from those thoughts lead others to your love and mercy. "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." St. Matt. v.16.