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The Sixth Sunday after Trinity
excerpt from
COMMON PRAYER: A Commentary on the Prayer Book Lectionary
Volume 4: Trinity Sunday to the Twelfth Sunday After Trinity (p. 93-94)
St. Peter Publications Inc. Charlottetown, PEI, Canada
Reprinted with permission of the publisher.
O God, who hast prepared for them that love thee such good things as pass man’s understanding; Pour into our hearts such love toward thee, that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In this Collect today we address God who offers us eternal salvation. St. Paul tells us of our hope as Christians when he affirms: “Eye bath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” (I Cor. 2. 9) 

But why does God exclude from future blessedness those who do not love him?  Does God bear a grudge?  No.  The point is that those who do not love God will not be capable of enjoying his eternal salvation because of their own hardness of heart.  A twentieth-century commentator on this Collect (The Rev’d J.H.B. Masterman, Sunday Collects, 1922, page 104) suggests: “Just as a colour-blind person cannot enjoy the colour-effects of a great picture; or a deaf man a great symphony; so a loveless man is without the faculty for enjoying God’s good things.” 

After addressing God as he who prepares heaven for us, we ask that he may pour into our hearts a love for him.  We must always remember that our love for God does not come from ourselves, but from God himself.  God is the source of all goodness and love; love is a gift from God. St. John puts it clearly when he says: “We love him, because he first loved us.” (I John 4. 19). 

Finally, the Collect tells the reason why we ask for a bounty of love towards God, namely, “that we, loving thee above all things, may obtain thy promises, which exceed all that we can desire.” if we love God above all else (we have just prayed for his grace to do exactly that) then will we obtain the promises of Christ which exceed our grandest imaginings. We must seek first the Kingdom of God, putting the love of God first and foremost in our hearts and minds in all we do. 

The Epistle reading speaks of our hope of a future resurrection to that life with Christ in which the “good things” mentioned in the Collect await us. Over one hundred years ago, the Rev’d H.P. Liddon wrote how this Epistle teaches us to love God above all else and to leave behind the inordinate love of earthly things so that we might know the risen life of Jesus Christ: 

Just as he left his tomb once for all, so should the soul, once risen, be dead indeed unto sin. There must be no hovering about the sepulchre, no treasuring the grave-clothes, no secret hankering after the scent and atmosphere of the guilty past. Cling to the risen Saviour.... Cling to him by sacraments, the revealed points of contact with his strengthening manhood. Cling to him by obedience and by works of mercy, through which, he tells us himself, we abide in his love. And then, not in your own strength but in his, ‘likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.’