2016 Anne Boleyn Files Advent Calendar

December 4: Cranmer's Collect for the day

Today, Beth von Staats, author of Thomas Cranmer in a Nutshell shares with us Cranmer's Collect for today, the Second Sunday of Advent. Thank you Beth!

The Literary Genius of Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury:
Collect for the Second Sunday of Advent

Blessed Lord, which hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; grant us that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them; that by patience and comfort of thy holy word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our savior Jesus Christ.
Thomas Cranmer, 1549 Book of Common Prayer

If we are to believe the teachings of Christianity, we light the second purple candle on the Second Sunday of Advent to represent the hope of Jesus Christ coming to the world. It was with this hope of Christ’s impending birth that Thomas Cranmer, the Church of England’s first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, authored The Book of Common Prayer’s beautiful Collect for the Second Sunday of Advent. Through the imagery laden in Cranmer’s simple but exquisite writing style, in this lovely Collect, His Grace invites us to love the Bible and learn the truth of the Scriptures.

Thomas Cranmer’s steadfast and primary goal in his religious reformation of England and Wales was to ensure every person, whether educated or illiterate, could understand God’s word. Thus, typically he didn’t trifle with originality in composing his liturgy for the Church of England, but instead celebrated the richness of English religious traditions then only understandable to Latin scholars and translated them with the gifted hand of literary genius.

This acknowledged, his Collect for the Second Sunday of Advent, writing of Cranmer’s original composition, is one of the Prayer Book’s most eloquently written and profoundly beautiful Collects, notable for its grace, simplistic grandeur, imagery, poetic prose and lyric poetic cadence. It is no wonder then that Cranmer’s plea that we “hear…, read, mark, learn and inwardly digest…” God’s word has become one of Christendom’s most beloved and well-known prayers.

Addressing the “Blessed Lord” (God) directly, His Grace prays that we not only hear the Scriptures, but that we digest them within our whole being so that God’s Word can comfort and strengthen us. By providing a compass towards wisdom and focus, Thomas Cranmer’s Collect for the Second Sunday in Advent, leads believers to not only the hope of Christ’s birth, but also the hope of life everlasting.

P.S. On this day in history, 4th December 1555, Papal sentence was passed on Thomas Cranmer in Rome, resulting in Cranmer being deprived of his archbishopric (Canterbury) and “of all the ecclesiastical dignities”. See http://www.theanneboleynfiles.com/4-december-1555-thomas-cranmer-is-no-longer-archbishop/

Thomas Cranmer in a Nutshell