What’s in That Prayer? The Collect for Palm Sunday

Here is the oration that the Church prays in the Mass and Office for Palm Sunday, that is, the Sixth Sunday of Quadragesima (Lent), and the beginning of Holy Week:

Omnípotens sempitérne Deus, qui humáno generi, ad imitandum humilitátis exémplum, Salvatórem nostrum carnem súmere et crucem subíre fecísti: concéde propítius; ut et patiéntiæ ipsíus habére documénta et resurrectiónis consórtia mereámur.

Here is my translation:

All powerful and sempiternal God, who, to give the human race an example of humility to be imitated, hast made our Savior to assume flesh and submit to the Cross: graciously grant that we may be worthy both to accept the lesson of His patience, and to be partakers of His Resurrection.

Here is the translation from the Divinum Officium site:

Almighty, eternal God, Who, to provide mankind an example of humility for it to imitate, willed that the Saviour should assume our flesh and suffer death upon the Cross, mercifully grant that we may be found worthy of the lesson of His endurance and the fellowship of His resurrection.

This prayer evidently has in its background the Epistle of today’s Mass from Saint Paul to the Philippians (2:5-11):

Brethren: Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the cross. For which cause God also hath exalted him, and hath given him a name which is above all names Kneel : That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.

Many years ago, I posted a short study of this passage to our site: Imitating Christ’s Humility: Philippians 2. I now recommend for your consideration.

Aside from the lesson of humility we see so strikingly brought to mind by Our Lord’s Incarnation and patient suffering, consideration is also given in today’s oration to the effects of which this sublime double-condescension is the cause: namely, our own benefits, both to learn from His example, and to be made partakers of the glory of His Resurrection.

Today we will hear sung to us the Passion according to Saint Matthew. As we sympathetically attend to the spectacle of cruelty that Jesus lovingly underwent for our salvation, let us obey the words of the Apostle and let this mind be in us so that, by having the Mind of Christ, we may indeed receive the grace of this lesson and partake in His Resurrection.

A blessed and grace-filled Holy Week to you all.