The central theme of the Collect for this Thirty-second Week in Ordinary Time is our freedom:
Almighty and merciful God,
graciously keep us from all adversity,
so that, unhindered in mind and body alike,
we may pursue in freedom of heart
the things that are yours.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Like the Collect for last week, the attributes with which we address God in this prayer are his might and his mercy. As almighty and merciful, God is willing and able to free us from adversity. We make a similar request at every Mass, when after the Our Father the priest continues in prayer, “Deliver us, Lord, we pray, from every evil, [and] graciously grant peace in our days, that, by the help of your mercy, we may be always free from sin and safe from all distress…” It is through the mercy of almighty God that we are kept free from adversity—from all sin and distress.
The adversity (i.e., difficulty, hardship, distress) of our world distracts and hinders both our mind and body. Freed from adversity by God’s power and mercy, our body and mind are unhindered; but for what purpose? Not to pursue worldly things, but rather, heavenly things: the things that are of God. True freedom is not the ability to do whatever we want; there is no freedom in sinning. Sin is the opposite of freedom, since sin enslaves us. True freedom is the freedom to pursue the things of God.
Take this Collect to prayer with you this week as you contemplate the meaning of true freedom. Ask God—both almighty and merciful—to free you from whatever adversity is hindering you; then, with true freedom of heart, pursue the things of God for which you have been freed.
God bless you,