Collects for Advent

Though the Anglican Breviary provides an elegant solution to the problem of the botched Prayer Book Collects for Advent, an even simpler solution is offered in the Missale Anglicanum (Knott Missal) and the Office of St. Benedict. Simply provide the traditional Collects. So here they are:

Advent 1: “STIR up thy might, we beseech thee, O Lord, and come; that we, who are ever threatened by the peril of our sins, may be counted worthy to be rescued by thy protection, and saved by thy deliverance, who with God the Father, in unity of the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.”

Advent 2:“STIR up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the ways of thy Only-begotten; that by his coming we may be worthy to serve thee with purified minds. Through the same … Ämen.”

Advent 3: “INCLINE thine ear to our prayers, O Lord, we beseech thee; and lighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of thy visition. Who with God … livest. Amen.”

Advent 4: “STIR up thy power, we beseech thee, O Lord, and come: and with great might succour us, that with the help of thy grace that which is hindered by our sins may be hastened by thy merciful forgiveness. Who with God … livest. Amen.”

Thomas Cranmer’s ability to write liturgical English is certainly a tough act to follow, but in the Collects for Advent – in particular – he erred grievously in not simply translating the old Collects and preserving them. The collects Cranmer wrote and adopted are, when compared to the old ones, vastly inferior.

Fr. Gregory Wassen


About Father Gregory

I am an Anglican Catholic Priest, currently residing in Orvelte, the Netherlands.
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2 Responses to Collects for Advent

  1. In a word, not so. As much as I prefer the ideas of the Latin collects shared by both the Sarum and the Roman missal, the ancient ones are very much prone to theological error as they are mistranslated her in that by virtue of the ending one must assume they are addressed to the Son and not to the Father as is proper for Christian liturgical prayer. Cranmer plainly did not understand the teaching of the Advent season so he gave it collects that matched the ancient epistles and gospels in accordance with his own understanding

    • Father Gregory says:

      Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment.

      The ancients Collects, as they have left the redacting hands of St. Gregory the Great, are quite beyond any suspicion of theological error. For, as much as I usually defer to anything the great Origen taught, liturgical prayer addressed to the Son is *not* heretical, nor a theological error, nor does it lead to theological error. The Sacrifice of the Mass, of course, is not offered to the Son but to the Father. Only in that very limited sense can liturgical prayer not be offered to the Son. In fact Mass and Office make provision for ending Collects differently when addressed to Father or Son. It must be admitted that such prayers to the Son are much fewer compared to prayers addressed to the Father. This fact is theologically meaningful but should not be pushed too far.

      As far as Cranmer is concerned I will certainly agree that he had little understanding (if any) of Advent, or liturgical seasons in general. He *did* understand the effect of prayer as a teacher and therefore carefully inserted his erroneous Protestant opinions into the liturgy. Taking the Collects from the Scripture readings shows us Cranmer’s mind as it adheres to the Reformed principle of “Scripture alone.” The latter does constitute a theological error of some substance and ought to caution us in using Cranmer’s collects. Especially as Catholic Anglicans. This is not to say that Scripture is less central to Catholic Anglicanism. Far from it. I am convinced that seeing Scripture *and* tradition (especially the liturgical tradition) as the “place where God reveals Himself” puts Scripture in its proper context for interpretation. That is the tradition which was shaped by the same Spirit that gave us the Bible interprets Scripture to us as we pray. To insert ones own opinion into this – as Cranmer did – is to create a liturgical echo chamber where we hear our own instead of God’s voice speak.

      Thank you again for visiting and interacting with the material.

      Fr. Gregory Wassen

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