Sunday, 30 December 2012



O God, who through the fruitful virginity of blessed Mary
bestowed on the human race
the grace of eternal salvation,
grant, we pray,
that we may experience the intercession of her,
through whom we were found worthy
to receive the author of life,
our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son.

Found in both the Gelasian and Gregorian traditions, this was the Collect for January 1 in the 1570 Missal, when January 1 was kept as the feast of the Circumcision.

In the third line, the Latin has praemia, 'prizes' or 'rewards'.

The naming of 'our Lord Jesus Christ' is an insertion by the translators. The original ends 'through whom we merited to receive your Son, the author of life'.


O God, who in your kindness begin all good things
and bring them to fulfillment,
grant to us, who find joy in the Solemnity of the holy Mother of God,
that, just as we glory in the beginnings of your grace,
so one day we may rejoice in its completion.

From the Veronese Sacramentary, where it is assigned as a Prayer after Communion for the Natale Episcoporum, that is, the day when bishops assumed their office. The text was modified for the 1970 Missal by the addition of 'who find joy in the Solemnity of the holy Mother of God'.

It was presumably the references to 'beginnings' that commended this text to the revisers for use at the beginning of the calendar year.


We have received this heavenly sacrament with joy, O Lord:
grant, we pray,
that it may lead us to eternal life,
for we rejoice to proclaim the blessed every-Virgin Mary
Mother of your Son and Mother of the Church.

Found in the Gelasian Sacramentary, this is one of the few prayers in the 1970 Missal that begins with an independent clause of statement. The syntax has been altered somewhat.

The original speaks of 'heavenly sacraments' rather than 'this heavenly sacrament', reminding us that in the eighth century, when the Gelasian was copied, sacramentum had a wider meaning than it was later to acquire. Eighth-century christians might well have counted hearing the scriptures among the 'sacraments' that they received when they attended Mass.

The original was a prayer for salvation through Mary's intercession, without the slightly boastful profession of faith intruded by the revisers. The title 'Mother of the Church' is drawn from Lumen Gentium 67.