Shall we look at the Collect for this Sunday’s Holy Mass in the Ordinary Form?
Protector in te sperantium, Deus, sine quo nihil est validum, nihil sanctum, multiplica super nos misericordiam tuam, ut, te rectore, te duce, sic bonis transeuntibus nunc utamur, ut iam possimus inhaerere mansuris.
Enjoy the humming alliteration and the clever pairings: nihil validum, nihil sanctum … te rectore, te duce.
Inhaereo means “to stick in, cleave to, adhere to”. Protector is from protego, “to cover before, or in front, cover over” and obviously also “to shield from danger” as well as “put a protecting roof over”. A protector is also “lifeguard or bodyguard”.
We have the image of a people asking God to cover them over as if with a shield.
Current ICEL translation: “O God, protector of those who hope in you, without whom nothing has firm foundation, nothing is holy, bestow in abundance your mercy upon us and grant that, with you as our ruler and guide, we may use the good things that pass in such a way as to hold fast even now to those that ever endure.”
We could render rector and dux respectively as “guide” and “ruler”, but in our times we need a bolder tone. The Latin rector is a “helmsman” and “commander of the army”. Dux is a “general” or “chief”.
Speaking of shield, God is our shield. He is our dux. We are members of the Church Militant. Never forget it.
We must not permit ourselves to go soft through the coos of those who deny the existence of evil, the Devil and personal sin. They imagine that “evil” is reducible to social ills stemming from deficient tolerance and inadequate diversity. This is a deception of the enemy of the soul, the Devil. In reality, our personal sins are the foundation of every societal ill.
As soldiers travelling through enemy territory, we need strong shields, a sure leader to set our feet on the right path out of the danger zone, and a way to identify what is holy and what is deception.
Today we ask for demon-Kevlar, so that the enemy cannot penetrate our minds and hearts with the darts of temptation and doubts. We beg for sin-Teflon, so that the allurements of this passing world won’t stick to us. We ask, on the other hand, for God to make us “sticky” only for that which endures forever.