Bishop Eric Menees
If you have followed along in the weekly Bishop's Note for all of this Church Year, you may notice that this week's collect was addressed in Advent 2. This is because I began this series of Notes by following the 1662 order of collects, rather than the 1979. Thus, I would refer you to my Advent 2 Bishop's Note for the collect you'll hear in church this Sunday.
This week, I would like to offer you a collect written by Archbishop Cranmer; one that I pray every morning and evening in the daily office.
A PRAYER FOR THE CLERGY AND PEOPLE:
"Almighty and everlasting God, who alone workest great marvels; Send down upon our Bishops, and Curates, and all Congregations committed to their charge, the healthful Spirit of thy grace; and that they may truly please thee, pour upon them the continual dew of thy blessing. Grant this, O Lord, for the honour of our Advocate and Mediator, Jesus Christ. Amen"
I suspect that Archbishop Cranmer added this prayer in the daily office, along with the collects for mission, so that, not only would the faithful be looking ahead at the spread of the Gospel, but that they would also ask God to bless our congregations and our clergy, who form the local expression of the Body of Christ!
First, this collect acknowledges that it is God alone who works miracles (marvels). God is the source of all good, all health, and all grace. I sense that we know that with our heads, but I fear that we don't believe it with our hearts. We buy into the myth that if we just try hard enough we can do it, and if we just can't, well then it's OK to call on the Lord and His strength. We fail to recognize that anything and everything we have or accomplish is a gift from God.
Second, this collect calls upon God's grace and health to bless our Bishops and Curates (priests and deacons serving in congregations) as His instruments in the local congregation. I can't emphasize enough the need to pray for our clergy. I consider myself extremely blessed to have the Little Brothers and Sisters of Sacrifice, along with the Bishop's Chapter of the Daughters of the Holy Cross, praying for me daily. I can't imagine how I could face a single day of ministry in the diocese without those intercessors petitioning the Lord, on my behalf, to grant me strength, wisdom, and discernment.
Lastly, this collect acknowledges that God's answer to our prayers not only blesses us, but also brings honor and glory to Him. How amazing that is, that God uses His grace to bless us and to bring glory and honor to Himself.
My prayer every morning, as Florence and I sit in our comfy prayer chairs, is that God will richly bless each and every priest and deacon in the Diocese of San Joaquin, that they may be used as an instrument of the Lord to bless the congregations that they serve and bring honor and glory to the Lord!
Catechism Questions 40-42
40. Who is God the Father?
God the Father is the first Person of the Holy Trinity, from whom the Son is eternally begotten and the Holy Spirit eternally proceeds. (John 1:1, 14; 14:16-17, 26; 15:26, Nicene Creed)
41. Why do you call the first of the three divine Persons “Father?”
Our Lord Jesus called God “Father” and taught his disciples to do the same, and St. Paul teaches that God adopts believers as his children and heirs in Christ, sending his Holy Spirit into our hearts crying “Abba, Father.” (Matthew 6:9; Romans 8:15-17; Galatians 4:4-7).
42. What do you mean when you call God “Father?”
When I call God “Father,” I acknowledge that I was created by God for relationship with him, that God made me in his image, that I trust in God as my Protector and Provider, and that I put my hope in God as his child and heir in Christ. (Genesis1:26, Matthew 6:25-33; Romans 8:16-17)