This Sunday’s ancient Collect for the 6th Sunday after Pentecost in the traditional, Extraordinary Form calendar, is preserved (mostly) on the 22nd Sunday of Ordinary Time in the post-conciliar Mass. Only 17 per cent of the 1,182 orations in the traditional Missale Romanum made it unscathed into the newer Missal.

Let’s see the Latin of this ancient prayer found already in the 8th-century Liber sacramentorum Romanae Ecclesiae:

Deus virtutum, cuius est totum quod est optimum: insere pectoribus nostris amorem tui nominis, et praesta in nobis religionis augmentum; ut, quae sunt bona, nutrias, ac pietatis studio, quae sunt nutrita, custodias.

Extra-literal rendering: “O God of mighty hosts, to whom is the totality of what is best: into our hearts graft love of Your Name, and grant in us an increase of religion; so that You may nourish the things which are good and, by Your fondness for mercy, guard what has been nourished.”

Here are images of armies and of vine-tending. On the one hand, we have the God of hosts who guards the good things we have. On the other, God grafts love into us and then nourishes it into growth.

That virtutum reflects the Hebrew tsaba’, “an army, a host”. Right now a host of mighty angels and saints sing before our God in a paradigm of religion: “Holy, Holy, Holy LORD GOD SABAOTH.” The Sanctus of Holy Mass and the Te Deum echo the exultant myriads whose company we crave.

​How to continue reading…

This article appears in the Catholic Herald magazine - to read it in full subscribe to our digital edition from just 30p a week

The Catholic Herald is your essential weekly guide to the Catholic world; latest news, incisive opinion, expert analysis and spiritual reflection