Consecrated to the Heart of the Redeemer under the patronage of the Theotokos and Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J.

19 February 2015

Collect Your Thoughts

From my seminary days I recall that one notable difference between today's Gospel from Matthew and its Lucan parallel is the use of the word "daily": "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me." Why one evangelist remembered Him saying "daily" and another did not--or however that went down--I couldn't tell you. But there is something to that word "daily": We got up this morning, and it was a new day, a new opportunity or a new need to do many of the same things we did yesterday and the day before. We have to repeat this stuff daily for it to work.

This morning a Facebook friend shared the "Morning Offering." Perhaps you recall it:
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys, and sufferings of this day: for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for all my sins, for the intentions of all my associates, and in particular for the intentions recommended to me this month by our Holy Father.
Where did I learn that? Across the street from our church, at Saint Clair Catholic, before it became a grotto. Every morning we heard it over the loudspeaker. It reminded me of this morning's collect, which I would attempt for you in my best impression of my freshman and junior year English teacher, Sister Joseph Annetta, S.S.J. (Eternal Memory!):
Direct, O Lord, we beseech You, all our actions by Your holy inspirations, and carry them through by Your gracious assistance, so that our every prayer and work may always begin with You, and by You be happily ended: through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
(Actiones nostras, quaesumus, Domine, aspirando praeveni et adiuvando prosequere, ut cuncta nostra oratio et operatio a Te semper incipiat, et per Te coepta finiatur: per Christum, Dominum nostrum. Amen.) [I learned it in Latin, too, because I'm goofy like that.]
That prayer collected--gathered--us from the diverse conversations that took place right up to, and sometimes a little bit after, the bell. That's one reason we refer once again to the Opening Prayer of the Mass as the collect.

Of course, the wording is now different from the version I just quoted (as was the previous Mass translation), but I remember it because we heard it from her daily. They say, repetitio est mater studiorum: "repetition is the mother of students," and it was a mother to us! But it worked.

But I would thoroughly understand if many of my classmates could not remember the prayer, especially if they haven't cared to remember it (interest makes a difference when it comes to memory), or if they haven't used it since their last class with Sister Joe. When I taught high school, I used that prayer every day, for both my theology and Latin classes.

The prayers, the hymns, the poems, the movie lines, and maybe even the times tables: These are the type of things I hope to remember when I'm retired and in our Villa, if we still have one.

Anyhow, a good Lenten practice might be to memorize a certain prayer or action, by repeating it daily. It will be one of those many worthy things we'll want to continue when Lent is over.

Every "today" is a day to choose whether or not to repeat the actions that can become our habits.