What’s in That Prayer? The Collect for the Fourth Sunday after Pentecost

Here is the oration that the Church prays in the Mass and Office for the fourth Sunday after Pentecost:

Da nobis, quǽsumus, Dómine: ut et mundi cursus pacífice nobis tuo órdine dirigátur; et Ecclésia tua tranquílla devotióne lætétur.

Here is my translation:

Grant unto us, O Lord: that both the course of this world may be peaceably directed by Thine arrangement, and that Thy Church may rejoice in calm devotion.

Here is the translation from the Divinum Officium site:

Grant us, we beseech You, O Lord, that the course of the world may be directed according to Your rule in peace and that Your Church may have the joy of serving You undisturbed.

Today’s Epistle (Rom. 8:18-23), begins with these very encouraging words from Saint Paul: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this time are not worthy to be compared with the glory to come, that shall be revealed in us.” The Gospel (Luke 5:1-11) narrates the confidence that Jesus elicits in the Apostles, who, at His word, cast forth for a draught of fishes, even though they had labored all night catching nothing. Saint Peter is so astonished at the ensuing miracle’s manifestation of Our Lord’s divine power that he “fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying: Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

With all this in the background, we are assured by today’s collect that, while life in this world is difficult at times and the labor seems fruitless, it is God who directs the course of this world so that we might have peace (the tranquility of order) within us, and it is He who directs His Church so that we might rejoice in calm devotion, even amid the violence and tumult of our daily difficulties.

By this prayer, we are not asking to be delivered from all disturbance or pain. To ask such would be to flee the Cross. No, we ask that, in spite of such things, we may have the grace to be calmly, tranquilly, and peaceably devoted to the Trinity amid these difficulties. It is as if the Church is still echoing the Pentecost sequence:

In labore requies,
in aestu temperies
in fletu solatium.

This is a petition that the Holy Ghost will be to us:

Rest amid labor,
temperateness amid heat,
solace amid tears.


The Miraculous Draught of Fishes, 1545, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Patrons’ Permanent Fund. (Public domain.)