We call the Opening Prayer of the Mass the Collect because the priest pauses briefly to “collect” the prayers of the people and present them to God in the words of the prayer provided by the Church. Throughout the week, the Collect is repeated at each of the daily Masses (unless the day is a feast or memorial, which has its own Collect). Because the Collect is used throughout the week, it provides great fodder for our prayer and thought for the week. The language and structure of a Collect often require a little work on our part to digest. Some are more complex than others. The Collect for this Twenty-eighth Week in Ordinary Time, however, is short and sweet:
May your grace, O Lord, we pray,
at all times go before us and follow after
and make us always determined
to carry out good works.
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.
This Collect dates back to the eighth century. That means the Church has been praying this simple prayer for 1300 years. The seven sacraments of the Church are the ordinary means God uses to bestow his grace upon us. Each sacrament is an opportunity to receive grace, starting with Baptism, in which, by God’s grace, we become his adopted children. This Collect asks in a simple, yet profoundly beautiful way that God’s grace will surround us: at all times go before us and follow after.
Begin each day this week with this prayer. Take just a couple minutes to thank God for another day, and ask that his grace may go before you and follow after you in everything you will do that day.
God bless you,