The Collect for Proper 9:  The Sunday closest to July 6

O God,
you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor:
Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit,
that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart,
and united to one another with pure affection;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(BCP 230-1)

This Collect, slightly revised, is from the oldest surviving sacramentary (altar book for the priest), the Leonine sacramentary (Hatchett, 188).  This sacramentary, which is also called the Verona sacramentary, is attributed to Pope Leo I (died in 461) and contained in a manuscript from the cathedral of Verona that dates from the seventh century.  This sacramentary represents use by the church in Rome without Gallican influences.  “Gallican influences” refers to the liturgies of Northern Italy, Gaul, Spain, and Celtic regions of the British Isles.  The church in these regions did not have a uniform liturgy at the time of these sacramentaries (see “Gallican Rite” in The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Third Edition Revised, edited by F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone, 2005, pages 655-6).

The Preamble, “O God,” doesn’t provide us with additional information about the one to whom we pray.

The Acknowledgement, “you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor,” refers to Matthew 22:35-40, in which Jesus replies to the question about which commandment is the greatest by stating that loving God and neighbor is the foundation for all of biblical teaching.  The confession of sin found in Morning and Evening Prayer and the Eucharist uses this same summary:  “We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves” (BCP 79, 116, 360).  Our Baptismal Covenant presupposes that love of God motivates our desire to be baptized and our loyalty to Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  This liturgy provides us with a short list of specific ways in which we are called to love our neighbors:  resisting evil, sharing the Good News of God in Christ, seeking and serving Christ in all persons, striving for justice and peace among all people, and respecting the dignity of every human being (Holy Baptism, BCP 302-306).     

The Petition, “Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit,” focuses our attention on the work of the Holy Spirit.  In our Baptism, we are fully initiated by the Holy Spirit to be members of the Church, Christ’s Body (Holy Baptism, BCP 298).  In the Prayers for the Candidates, we pray that those who are baptized will be “filled with God’s holy and life-giving Spirit” (BCP 305).  Our life as members of the Church is empowered through the Holy Spirit. With this week’s Collect, it doesn’t matter if you were baptized in the Episcopal Church before our present Prayer Book or were baptized in a different denomination; we are all included in this prayer that connects each of us to our own baptism and, through our own baptisms, the Holy Spirit connects us to each other as members of Christ’s Body.

The Aspiration, “that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart, and united to one another with pure affection,” parallels the second half of the prayer the priest or bishop prays over the newly baptized:  “Sustain them, O Lord, in your Holy Spirit.  Give them an inquiring and discerning heart, the courage to will and to persevere, a spirit to know and to love you, and the gift of joy and wonder in all your works” (BCP 308).  We need the grace of the Holy Spirit to love God with all of our being throughout our lives.  In the Prayers for the Candidates, one of the petitions asks that the Holy Spirit teach the newly baptized to “love others” (BCP 305).  Being united to one another through our baptisms is the beginning of the Christian life as family.  We need the grace of the Holy Spirit to continue to unite us to each other with pure, tender care on good days and bad.

The Pleading, “through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the
Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen,” reminds us that God is united in life, love, and rule.  As we are united in pure affection to God and to each other, we reflect God’s nature.

This week we pray for grace to live into the two great Commandments.    How has God enabled you to live more fully into the two great Commandments since last year?  How has God enabled us, as a parish, to love God, each other, and our neighbors better since the last time we prayed this prayer?

O God,
you have taught us to keep all your commandments by loving you and our neighbor:
Grant us the grace of your Holy Spirit,
that we may be devoted to you with our whole heart,
and united to one another with pure affection;
through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

© 2022 Donna Hawk-Reinhard, edited by Kate McCormick
The citations from Marion Hatchett are from his Commentary on the American Prayer Book, HarperOne, 1995
Quotations and page references to The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) are from the 1979 standard edition.
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

Scroll to Top