Posted by: liturgicalyear | May 7, 2013

The Collect: The Opening Prayer

Do you ever listen, and I mean really listen to the opening prayer of the mass?

If you’re like me, you often don’t pay too much attention to it – rather a formality to getting to the “meat” of the mass.

But then…every now and again…I hear one that grabs me by the shirt & commands, “Listen!”

That’s what happened last Wednesday, on May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker. The priest actually apologized at the end of Mass for praying the wrong opening prayer because, having come from a meeting, he was in such a rush to get started that he wasn’t as careful as he had hoped. Many present probably didn’t even notice, but for me it was a different story.  God tapped me directly on the shoulder. I turned to my Magnificat and read these beautiful words:

O God, restorer and lover of innocence,
direct the hearts of your servants towards yourself,
that those you have set free from the darkness of unbelief
may never stray from the light of your truth.
through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.  Amen

Many of us have been restored by the lover of innocence, and we pray for the same restoration of those we love to be “set free from the darkness of unbelief.”  Sometimes it’s a lifelong prayer and most times, a painful one – I think most especially painful when it is prayed from the heart of a mother and father for their child.

Age often grants wisdom of which the young know little.  Choices of the lesser good that concupiscence offers will fail to satisfy – a knowledge that comes with experience and age.  Oh, if there were only a way that they could know what we know…but they can’t or they won’t.  So we pray.  It is in these moments that we share deeply in the heart of God – loving through the pain that freedom allows – in mournful silence.

So today, I invite you to join hearts with all those who will read these words today, and pray to the lover of innocence to restore those for whom we pray, for those who have asked for our prayers, and for our own selves to be set free from any and all darkness in our lives and to never stray from the light of the truth.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!  Anne


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