Collect for Prime - 2
Domine Deus omnipotens, qui ad principium hujus diei nos pervenire fecisti:
tua nos hodie salva virtute; ut in hac die ad nullam declinemus peccatum,
sed semper ad tuam justitiam faciendam nostra procedant eloquia, dirigantur
cogitationes et opera. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum filium tuum, qui
tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula
Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus, qui nos ad principium hujus
diei pervenire fecisti; tua nos hodie salva virtute; et concede ut in hac
die ad nullum declinemus peccatum, nec ullum incurramus periculum, sed
semper ad tuam justitiam faciendam omnis nostra actio tuo moderamine
dirigatur. Per (etc).
The public prayers of the Roman Church rarely use the word "Sanctus",
"Holy", of God. The word itself seems to be considered rather holy, and it
is used with reserve. It is used for example at the solemn moment of the
Mass when we join in the song of the Seraphim (cf. Isaiah 6): "Sanctus,
Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth"; or again in the Te Deum when it
alludes to that passage. But the collects generally use words like
"omnipotens", "aeternus". So our sober Roman collect begins:
Domine Deus omnipotens . . .
But our bucolic, "gothick", (or, if you will, "baroque") Sarum collect begins:
Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus . . .
Longer, more effusive, more emotional than the Roman form, and using the
s-word. One of the aims of the Council of Trent was to replace these wild
and fantastick uses with the sober restraint of the Roman. Actually the
aims of the English reformers were not so very different; and they removed
the s-word in their translation, though otherwise they kept the Sarum
invocation; they had no objection to prolixity as such:
O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God . . .
The reformers also inserted the word "safely", not found in either Latin
form; part of their usual practice of adding words to open up and amplify
the terseness of the Latin; and in this case, perhaps, a happy enough
addition. This was the opinion expressed by Archdeacon Freeman in his
"Principles of Divine Service" (Oxford and London, 1855), p. 371:
'The word "safely" is the addition of the translators, and a very
significant and valuable addition it is. One of the promises made to Israel
in the Book of the prophet Hosea is; "I will make them to lie down safely"
[Hosea 2:18]. And here we thank God not merely for having brought us to
another morning . . . but for having defended us from those "perils and
dangers of the night," of which mention is made in the third Evening
Collect, and for having raised us up safely, with powers recruited and
renewed by rest.'
More about the perils and dangers of the night tomorrow. But for the
moment, he goes on:
'We must not pass away from this clause without remarking two new features
in it, which make their appearance but rarely in the Collects. The
invocation of a Collect is usually succeeded either by the recital of some
doctrine (as that "God is always more ready to hear than we to pray") [12th
after Trinity] or of some fact recorded in Holy Scripture, (as that God, at
the feast of Pentecost, did "teach the hearts of His faithful people by the
sending to them the light of his Holy Spirit.") Here, however, what we
recite after the invocation is a truth of our own present experience - that
God hath "safely brought us to the beginning of this day".
' . . .And secondly, there is in this clause . . . a ring of thankfulness.
"Who hast safely brought us to the beginning of this day" is a grateful
acknowledgement to our heavenly Father, no less than an encouragement to our