This Sunday has many nicknames. In the post-Conciliar calendar it is the “Second Sunday of Easter (or of Divine Mercy)”. It is also called “Thomas Sunday” (because of the Gospel reading about the doubting Apostle), and “Quasimodo Sunday” (from the first word of the Introit), and “Low Sunday”. Since ancient times today has been called Sunday “in albis depositis”, of the “white robes having been taken off.”
Let’s see today’s Collect:
Deus misericordiae sempiternae, qui in ipso paschalis festi recursu fidem sacratae tibi plebis accendis, auge gratiam quam dedisti, ut digna omnes intellegentia comprehendant, quo lavacro abluti, quo spiritu regenerati, quo sanguine sunt redempti.
Those clauses with quo, having no conjunctions (a trope called asyndeton) gives this prayer a forceful feeling, as do those abluti…regenerati…redempti with the single sunt.
Accendo means “to kindle anything above so that it burns downward. It recalls the fiery liturgical imagery of the Vigil. A lavacrum is “a bath”. Abluo is “to wash, cleanse, purify”. It is used by Lucretius (d AD 55) for the removal of darkness by the bringing in of light (De rerum natura 4, 378). Early Latin-speaking Christians adapted and “baptized” existing religious vocabulary to express their faith as it grew over time with new theological insights.
Current ICEL translation: God of everlasting mercy, who in the very recurrence of the paschal feast kindle the faith of the people you have made your own, increase, we pray, the grace you have bestowed, that all may grasp and rightly understand in what font they have been washed, by whose Spirit they have been reborn, by whose Blood they have been redeemed.
Today our priests pray that by the recurring sacred mysteries, we Christians – both veterans and neophytes, together as a people – will be always renewed, and that our grasp of how we have been redeemed and our comprehension of the effects of that redemption will continually deepen.
We should pray daily for an increase of a faith that seeks to grasp, comprehend, understand ever more fully who Our Lord is and who we have become in Him. Grace and faith precede and prepare our fuller comprehension. On our own we can grasp only so much. Faith brings to completion what reason begins to explore. We who were once set on fire with the indwelling of the Spirit, should each day ask God to rekindle us, burn us up again and continually from above.
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