The Collect (Opening Prayer) for this Twenty-seventh Week in Ordinary Time asks for mercy from an abundantly kind God:
Almighty ever-living God,
who in the abundance of your kindness
surpass the merits and the desires of those
who entreat you,
pour out your mercy upon us
to pardon what conscience dreads
and to give what prayer does not dare to ask.
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.
The first part of the Collect speaks of the extreme nature of God. God is not only mighty, but almighty. God is not only living, but ever-living. God is not only kind, but abundantly kind. In fact, God’s kindness is so abundant that it causes him to surpass not only what we merit (or deserve) but also what we desire. This calls to mind the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians: “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived…God has prepared for those who love him” (1Cor 2:9). God surpasses not only our merit, but whatever desire we even could conceive in our heart.
The second part of the Collect—the “ask”—requests an outpouring of mercy. God is never stingy with his mercy; he doesn’t mete it out in measured amounts, but pours his mercy upon us. We ask for an outpouring of mercy to not only pardon the sins that our conscience rightly dreads, but to provide what we cannot even dare to ask for in our prayer.
Take just a few minutes each morning this week to pray this Collect, and to contemplate the extreme mercy of the almighty and ever-living God, whose abundance of kindness surpasses anything we could ever imagine. Ask that he pour that mercy upon you.
God bless you,