Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen.
NB: This Collect is to be repeated every day, after the other Collects in Advent, until Christmas Day.
This collect was composed specifically for the Book of Common Prayer, 1549, and because of the rubric calling for its repeated use throughout the season is known as the “Advent Collect.” The Latin Rite Missal collect for this Sunday traditionally has been similar to the “Stir Up” collect that we used last week for the Sunday Next before Advent, and does not include a rubric to make it a seasonal collect.
The Scripture readings for this Sunday are to be: Romans 13:8-13 and St. Matthew 21:1-13. The opening line of the collect is built off the 12th verse of the Epistle lesson, Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, and the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. We see immediately the idea of casting off the works of darkness and putting on the armor of light, typical themes of St. Paul, and exactly what we need to do as we think in terms of preparing to meet Jesus. Then, backtracking slightly in the Epistle lesson, we read, Romans 13:11 And this, knowing the season, that already it is time for you to awake out of sleep: for now is salvation nearer to us than when we first believed. When we read the collect, we see, now in the time of this mortal life, and it is important that we focus on the now. This refers not to the time of Christ’s First Coming, nor does it look ahead to His Second Coming. Now refers to the present instant in our mortal lives, the time in which we live right now. We see this when we compare to the now in verse 11 that speaks of now is salvation nearer …
When the collect speaks of the time in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility, it is clearly a reference to the First Coming of our Lord as the Infant Saviour, the Babe of Bethlehem. This is the wonderful event we call the Incarnation which leads to our salvation, won for us by Jesus the Christ, on the Cross of Calvary. The next phrase picks up the second theme of Advent, the Second Coming when in says, that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead. We would be truly foolish to forget this second aspect of Advent, and this is one of the main reasons for using this collect daily throughout the season.
Finally, the collect reaffirms our hope and confidence of salvation through Jesus Christ and the full Holy Trinity in the final phrase, (that) we may rise to life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and ever. Amen. In this last phrase, we are reminding ourselves far more than God that we do believe in His promises of salvation for those who persevere to the end. Our faith is built on the unshakeable promises of God, and we need only be faithful and steadfast in His ways that He will receive us in the end. Now, let us prepare to meet Him!
+ In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.