Sunday, 10 February 2013



Keep your family safe, O Lord, with unfailing care,
that, relying solely on the hope of heavenly grace,
they may be defended always by your protection.

In the Gregorian Sacramentary and many other manuscripts. This was in 1570 the Collect for the Fifth Sunday after Epiphany.

The translation may give the impression that we pray in line 2 to rely solely on the hope of heavenly grace, but these words translate a relative clause, stating that we do in fact so rely. Cranmer's version conveys the sense of the original more precisely:

Lord, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they which do lean only upon hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power.


O Lord our God,
who once established these created things
to sustain us in our frailty,
grant, we pray,
that they may become for us now
the Sacrament of eternal life.

In the Veronese, Gelasian and Gregorian Sacramentaries and many other manuscripts, in 1570 this was the Secret for the Thursday after Passion Sunday. It was damaged in revision for the 1970 Missal. The 1570 text, which accords with most of the manuscripts, is translated thus in the 1952 hand-missal of Fortescue and O'Connell:

O Lord our God, who hast commanded and preferred that these material things, created by thee for the support of our frail nature, should also be dedicated as offerings to thy name, grant that they may not only help us in this present life, but prove a pledge of immortality.

The idea is that God has created bread and wine both for a material purpose - to sustain us in our frailty - and, more importantly, for a spiritual one - to be offered to him in sacrifice. Consequently we pray that they may help us materially and spiritually. The revisers removed the reference to sacrifice, but failed to remove the comparative adverb potius, meaning 'rather', which indicated that the spiritual purpose was more important than the material one. So we are left with potius floating free, having no comparison to attach itself to.

The official translation overcomes this difficulty sensibly, by ignoring potius.


O God, who have willed that we be partakers
in the one Bread and the one Chalice,
grant us, we pray, so to live
that, made one in Christ,
we may joyfully bear fruit
for the salvation of the world.

This prayer, which was not in the 1570 Missal, has been taken from a Dominican source. It is rich in scriptural allusions:

'one Bread' 1 Cor 10,7
'made one in Christ' John 17,11
'bear fruit' John 15,16.