This series of posts will focus on the collect of the Mass. Pronounced call-ect and also called “the opening prayer,” this little prayer can slip right by us if we aren't careful. But it “collects” all of our prayers, unites them with the special prayers and seasons of the Mass, and sends them all up to God as we focus our attention on our liturgical worship. It's important, then, that we take some time each week to listen more closely to and reflect on the collect, which we first hear on Sunday and again on non-feast days throughout the week.
Here is the collect for the Fourteenth Week in Ordinary Time:
O God, who in the abasement of your Son have raised up a fallen world, fill your faithful with holy joy, for on those you have rescued from slavery to sin you bestow eternal gladness. 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.
the abasement of your Son – Jesus Christ “emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness” (Phil 2:7). He became incarnate. He put aside the glory of His divinity (but not, of course, the reality of His divinity). He made Himself like us in all things except sin.
raised up a fallen world – Here is why Jesus emptied Himself: that through His sacrifice, the Father might raise up a world fallen in sin. We still live in a fallen world, but sin and death no longer have the final say.
holy joy – Are we joyful people? Not just happy but really joyful, deep down in our souls, no matter what our external situation? Do we allow God to fill us with joy? Do we find our joy in what is holy?
rescued from slavery to sin – We no longer have to be slaves to sin. Jesus redeemed us when He died on the cross for us. He bought us back from slavery with His own blood. So why do we still sin? Whenever we're tempted, we should develop the habit of recalling the price of our redemption.
eternal gladness – This is our goal. If we remain in a state of grace, with God's presence dwelling in us, we will one day see Him face to face. We may need a little purification first, if we haven't scrubbed off the muck of the consequences of our sins in this life, but God wants us to be saved. He loves us, and He wants to give us the best of gifts: Himself for all eternity.