GRANT, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to thy faithful people pardon and peace:  that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord etc. 

This collect is somewhat unusual in that its first words belong not to the address but rather to the petition:  ‘Grant, we beseech thee’.  The address follows these opening words (‘merciful Lord’) and divides the petition into two parts.  The address itself emphasizes with its two words (‘merciful Lord’) what are probably the two most significant attributes of God:  his mercy and his dominion or Lordship.  These two elements in turn refer to central components of God’s goodness and his omnipotence.  These also reinforce each other.  God’s mercy is magnified by the fact that it inheres in the Lord and Ruler of the universe who is well able to grant blessings and bestow benefactions.  Likewise, God’s Lordship is magnified by his mercy and love and good gifts to his people.  Mercy and dominion are strengthened and reinforced by their co-inherence.

The fact of our prayer (‘we beseech thee’) leads to the substance of its petition:   ‘Grant…to thy faithful people, pardon and peace’.  This first blessing requested in the petition flows both temporally and substantially from the second blessing:  ‘that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind’.   Those who receive absolution from sin enjoy thereby an easy conscience and moral and emotional quietude, ‘a quiet mind’.  Without assurance of forgiveness of sins, a careful soul will be disquieted and lack peace.  The petition requests blessings in precisely their proper order:  first ‘pardon’, then ‘peace’; first to be ‘cleansed from all…sins’, then ‘a quiet mind’.

The petition is enhanced by two sets of alliterations:  ‘people, pardon and peace’; and ‘sins, and serve’ which follows upon the ‘s’ sound in ‘cleansed’.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s