The first statement of our Collect this week – that is, the prayer that should guide and govern (bring order to) our prayers – has given me pause. I will openly share that as the rubrics give the option of beginning the Morning and Evening Prayer Offices after the Penitential Rite (and so not including that rite each and every time the office is prayed) on weekdays, I have often omitted it knowing that at the end of each day I would engage in a prayer of confession at Compline.
Not this week.
This week I am reminded, and the awareness is held before me, that God’s almighty power is declared most chiefly in showing mercy and pity. In a week when the liturgy moves me to be transformed in the way that I understand power, it is most appropriate that I would pray “Almighty and most merciful Father…” In a world where force is met with force and violence with violence; where hatred is countered with hatred and bigotry with bigotry; where lack of stillness is answered by further activity and mockers are answered mockingly: in this world we are called to new life ,and new understanding, by the One who has overcome hatred with love, and vengeance with mercy; who has overcome death with life, and the world with the Kingdom. We do not associate “Almighty” with “most merciful” secularly, and too often when done in Christian contexts it is done tritely.
Let us pause and consider.
We do not see things, yet, as they are. But on our knees, He will show us.
And so this week I make the Penitential Rite a part of Morning and Evening Prayer daily – because I will devote myself to Him who will transform me by the work of His Spirit; Him, who will be faithful to complete this work; Him, whose almighty power is declared most chiefly in showing mercy and pity.