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

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

Páteant aures misericórdiæ tuæ, Dómine, précibus supplicántium: et, ut peténtibus desideráta concédas; fac eos quæ tibi sunt plácita, postuláre.

Here is my translation:

May Thy ears of mercy be open, O Lord, to the prayers of Thy suppliants; and, that Thou mayest grant the things desired to Thy petitioners; make them to ask for those things which are pleasing to Thee.

Here is the translation from the Divinum Officium site:

May Your merciful ears be open, O Lord, to the prayers of those who humbly entreat You; grant that they may ask for what pleases You so that You may fulfill their desires.

Today’s Mass propers are a mixture of stern warnings and tender consolations. The stern warnings are in the Epistle (1 Cor. 10:6-13) and Gospel (Luke 19:41-47), while the consolations may be found in other texts, especially in the Communion verse — which speaks of our close union with Jesus in Sacramental Communion. In the Epistle, Saint Paul points to the example of the infidelities of the Israelites and how we should not imitate them. In the Gospel, Jesus prophesies the destruction of Jerusalem, summarizing its attendant horrors, which constitute something of a foreshadowing of Hell.

In a way, today’s collect steps into the breach between warnings and consolations, between strong admonitions and comforting promises of joy. Without any irony, we ask God that we might ask Him rightly for what we truly need. We petition Him that our petitions to Him will be holy, that is, according to His adorable will. In such wise, we will be united to Him, for it is only through such union that we will be spared the dreadful things about which we are warned.


The Siege and Destruction of Jerusalem, by David Roberts (1850). Public Domain, Link