In the last post, we talked about getting in the habit of reading the Scriptures from the lectionary before Mass. But there's something else we should also review before heading to church on Sundays: the collect.
The collect (pronounced kol-ekt) is the prayer Father says right after the introductory rites, penitential rites, and Gloria. We sometimes call it the opening prayer, and it often reflects the readings and/or feast of the particular day.
It's easy to let the collect slip right by us. Father says, “Let us pray...” and that should catch our attention, but it doesn't always, and before we know it, Father is saying, “Amen,” and we have no idea what he just prayed.
That's why we should get in the habit of reading the collect before Mass. It's a beautiful, important prayer that we should be making our own each week.
Daily and Sunday collects appear on the Catholic Culture website. Just click on “Liturgical Year,” select “Today,” and navigate to the day you want (you might also enjoy the reflections on the readings).
The collect prayer for this coming Sunday, the Thirteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time, is as follows:
O God, Who through the grace of adoption chose us to be children of light, grant, we pray, that we may not be wrapped in the darkness of error but always be seen to stand in the bright light of 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.
Pray through the collect slowly several times. If you've already read the Scripture readings, see if you can discover corresponding themes; if not, look for them when you do go through the readings. You may want to write the collect out longhand, perhaps on a sticky note, and put it where you can see it easily. Then pray it periodically throughout the week.
Also spend some time meditating on the collect. What is God saying to you through it? What does it teach you about God and about yourself? How does it apply to your life right now? What inspiration does it give you to grow in your Christian journey?
If you take the time to pray and reflect on the collect before Mass each Sunday, you'll discover that the opening prayer that used to slide by quickly will now stand out as a moment of intimate encounter with God.