Deus, qui omnes in Christo renatos
genus electum et regale sacerdotium fecisti,
da nobis et velle et posse quod praecipis,
ut populo ad aeternitatem vocato
una sit fides cordium et pietas actionum.
In the Tridentinum there is a prayer from Holy Saturday after the 10th prophecy: Deus, qui diversitatem gentium in confessione tui nominis adunasti: da nobis, et velle, et posse quae praecipis; ut populo ad aeternitatem vocato, una sit fides mentium, et pietas actionum. In the Gregorian Sacramentary in the Hadrianum manuscript this results on the Thursday in the Octave of Easter, when the Station is at XII Apostoli.
O God, who made all those reborn in Christ
to be a chosen race and a royal priesthood,
grant us both to desire and to be able to do what you command,
so that within the people called unto eternity
there may be one faith of hearts and one compassionate duty of actions.
The really hard phrase in this is pietas actionum. We have on many occasions in the daily Lent series talked about pietas, and how hard it is to get into English, since "piety" just doesn’t sound right to our modern ears. If you are steeped in medieval things, or at least archaic usage of English, and know something of heraldry, you might remember the symbol of the pelican "in her piety". There is a symbol of Christ and His Church as a pelican who, in time of famine and drought, pierces her own breast with her bill to feed her chicks from her own blood. This sort of piety harks to the sense of pietas as "duty". This is what she must do for her young.
Perhaps you have sung the hymn by St. Thomas Aquinas (+1274) called Adoro Te devote, in which we find the words, "Pie pelicane, Iesu Domine, / me immundum munda tuo sanguine. … O compassionate pelican, Lord Jesus, cleanse me, unclean, in your blood."
So, in the phrase una sit fides cordium et pietas actionum we have an expression of Christian wholeness. Just interior faith alone does not suffice for the Christian life, nor do mere outward actions of charity and mercy. Pope Benedict spoke to this in his first encyclical letter Deus caritas est. All good outward actions are good not just because they are performed, but because they are performed from love, a deep sacrificial love which is charity and which imitates the Lord on the Cross.
But wait, there’s more!
Double checking led to the discovery that there was a change of Collect in the 2002MR. Here is the Collect used in the Novus Ordo this day until the 2002 editio tertia.
Deus, qui, licet salutem hominum semper operaris,
nunc tamen populum tuum gratia abundantiore laetificas,
respice propitius ad electionem tuam,
ut piae protectionis auxilium
et regenerandos muniat et renatos.
The prayer in the edito typica altera of 1975 was not in a previous edition of the Missale Romanum. It had precedent, however, in the Gelasian Sacramentary.
As of tomorrow, we enter into the Passion with Palm Sunday. Sweet Hosannas will ring, before we, as a Church, plunge into darkness.