Thursday, 13 December 2012



Grant that your people, we pray, almighty God,
may be ever watchful
for the coming of your Only Begotten Son,
that, as the author of our salvation himself has taught us,
we may hasten, alert and with lighted lamps,
to meet him when he comes.

Found in the Gelasian Sacramentary and nine other manuscripts. Not in the 1570 Missal.

The background is clearly the parable of the ten virgins and their lamps (Matt 25, 1-12). The 1970 revisers altered the text of the manuscripts, which ends ‘we may prepare our souls like glowing lamps to meet him’. The 1970 Missal shows a certain aversion from the word 'soul'  (anima), which may be one reason for this change. The revisers may also have been influenced by the Prayer after Communion for December 17 (also in the Gelasian Sacramentary) where we pray that 'we may shine like bright torches / before your Christ when he comes'. However, the difference between these two Gelasian prayers and the modern one is that they use 'lamps' as a synonym, whereas in the modern prayer 'lamps' seems to be a metaphor, but it is not clear what the metaphor is intended to represent.