What’s in That Prayer? The Collect for Saint Raymond Nonnatus

Here is the artful oration that the Church prays for the Mass and Office of Saint Raymond Nonnatus:

Deus, qui in liberándis fidélibus tuis ab impiórum captivitáte beátum Raymúndum Confessórem tuum mirábilem effecísti: eius nobis intercessióne concéde; ut, a peccatórum vínculis absolúti, quæ tibi sunt plácita, líberis méntibus exsequámur.

Here is my own fairly literal translation: 

O God, who hast made Thy Confessor blessed Raymond admirable in liberating Thy faithful from the captivity of the impious: grant to us by his intercession that, our minds being freed [and] loosed of the bonds of sins, we may pursue steadfastly those things which are pleasing to Thee. 

Here is the translation from the Divinum Officium site:

O God, Who didst make thy blessed Confessor Raymond to do a wonderful work in delivering thy faithful ones from bondage to the unbelievers, grant unto us at his prayers to be delivered from the chains of sin, and with all willingness of mind to do those things that are pleasing in thy sight. 

Saint Raymond was a Mercederian friar. They and the Trinitarians were “ransoming orders,” i.e., mendicant orders specifically founded to free Christians from slavery to the Muslims. Their members would both raise funds to ransom Christian captives and, in some cases, they would heroically exchange their lives to free the captives. Knowing this helps us to see the clever wordplay in this oration, where the ransoming charism of the Mercederians, so important to the saint’s life, is made an analogue to the concepts of bondage to sin and the freedom to pursue the good

Let us never forget the very Pauline concept that sin is bondage. We are free to do good; sin makes us slaves. 

Saint Raymond Nonnatus, pray for us!