WDTPRS: Collect – Friday of the 2nd Week of Advent

Wise and Foolish VirginsThe Collect for Friday of the 2nd Week of Advent.

This is an ancient prayer, found in the Gelasian Sacramentary among the prayers for Advent.

Concede, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus, plebi tuae
adventum Unigeniti tui cum summa vigilantia exspectare,
ut, sicut ipse docuit auctor nostrae salutis,
accensis lampadibus in eius occursum
vigilantes properemus

Exspecto means, basically, “await”.  But our fully-stocked Lewis & Short Dictionary shows that it means also “to look for with hope, fear, desire, expectation, to hope for, long for, expect, desire; to fear, dread, anticipate, apprehend.”

Grant, Almighty God, to Your people
to look
with the greatest vigilance for the Coming of your Only-Begotten,
so that, just as He, the author of our salvation himself, taught,
we wakeful may hasten, lamps alight,
toward His meeting

All-powerful God.
help us to look forward in hope
to the coming of our Savior.
May we live as he has taught,
ready to welcome him with burning love and faith

Hmmm… a prayer a Pelagian would be pleased to say.

Grant your people, we pray, almighty God,
to keep wide awake for the coming of your Only Begotten Son,
that as he himself, the author of our salvation, has taught,
we may be alert, with lamps alight,
and hurry out to greet him as he comes

The image is that of the wise virgins in Matthew 25, which has a long association with Advent and Christmas.   During the Middle Ages the parable of the wise and foolish virgins was sometimes enacted as a mystery play in church before the celebration of the 1st Mass of Christmas.

And rightfully so.  We must be wakeful.  If we are not, knowing the stakes, we are criminally stupid.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. traditionalorganist says:

    But Father! The parable was “enacted…in church” ??? Unholy images of giant puppets float into my mind and my lofty illusions of the Middle Ages disappear!

  2. abiologistforlife says:

    Wow. The parable image, and the vigilance, have completely disappeared. It’s almost like they wrote a new prayer on the skeleton of the old one.

    (‘Burning love and faith’ is a good phrase, though. But it doesn’t belong in this prayer.)

  3. drwob says:

    Fr. Z, your reference to Pelagianism brings up a question: it’s clear that the lame-duck ICEL translation is more than just a loose translation, in some places it could be interpreted as bad theology. My question is, is there a dominant trend (e.g., Pelagianism) when this occurs, or does the bad theology cover the gamut of heresies more broadly?

  4. frjim4321 says:

    ICEL 1998 Abandoned

    Almighty God,
    keep your people ever vigilant
    as we await the return of your only Son,
    that, mindful of our Saviour’s teaching,
    we may be ready with lamps burning
    and hasten to greet him when he comes.

    Here’s a case where the ’98 version is more faithful to the e.t. yes is clearly far better English than the 2008 attempt.

  5. frjim4321 says:

    yes = yet

  6. frjim4321 says:

    Oops, what I mean to say was the ICEL1998 seemed more faithful to the typical edition than was the 1974 current edition.

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