Julie Storr shares a reflection on the Collect for the Mass for the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Join me as we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time:
O God, who have prepared for those who love you good things which no eye can see, fill our hearts, we pray, with the warmth of your love, so that, loving you in all things and above all things, we may attain your promises, which surpass every human desire. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
I’ve been cantoring for a long time, and my first reaction to this prayer was, “that’s a funeral song.” Do you recognize it? It doesn’t start out very encouraging. This Scripture passage is often used at funerals and it a comforting song. However, as with other passages of Scripture, there is so much more.
The first book of the Bible where this text is found is in Isaiah, and this is a good opportunity to not take it out of context:
While you worked awesome deeds we could not hope for, such as had not been heard of from of old. No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you working such deeds for those who wait for him. (Isaiah 64:2-3)
In his homilies on Isaiah, St. John Chrysostom writes all we have to do is believe. Isaiah prophesied about vindication and salvation of Zion and he told the people to wait upon the Lord. God will do as He promised, you just need to wait. Don’t concern yourself with the “how” or “when” as God will do what he says he will do. He has prepared the good things for you, your job is to believe and wait on the power of the One who will act.
In 1 Corinthians 2, Paul writes that the wisdom the Apostles and teachers speak is not of this earth, but rather, they spoke of God’s wisdom, or His plan for our salvation. This plan was in place for ages; it was carried out by those who crucified Jesus. For hundreds of generations, God’s people could only believe because
as it is written: "What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9)
What do we need to do today? Wait on God. He will use what He needs to use to fulfill his plan.
But what about heaven? Yes, it is included in what God has prepared; we do look forward to attaining that promise as well, but that battle you’re going through today? Know that “God is working such deeds for those who wait for Him.” All we have to do is wait and believe. And that can be hard.
Notice the amount of love in this prayer, and look at the directions of it: Those who love you, our love goes up; fill us with your love, his love comes down; and we love you in all things and above all things, our love goes up to Him. How can we not trust and believe in someone that loves and cares for us like He does?
We ask for God’s love to fill our hearts, and in return we love Him in all things and above all things.
St. John Chrysostom also writes that God often unites a miracle and a prophecy, so that “those who see the miracle will believe in the prophecy, and those who will witness the fulfillment of the prophecy also believe in the miracle wrought in union with the prophecy.”
Believe that God has already declared a prophecy and a miracle over your life. The good things that God has promised are already ready, they are all prepared. We must only believe and wait.
Thank you for praying with me.
Copyright 2022 Julie Storr
About the Author
Julie Storr is a convert who is in awe of the depth of the relationship with God that can be found in the Catholic Church. She is a Benedictine Oblate of Conception Abbey. Julie and her husband live in Pocahontas, Iowa. They have two grown sons and are excited to be expecting a daughter-in-law this summer. Visit her website at LectioTheLiturgy.com.