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The Fourteenth Sunday after Trinity
excerpt from
COMMON PRAYER: A Commentary on the Prayer Book Lectionary
Volume 5: Thirteenth Sunday After Trinity to Twenty Sixth Sunday after Trinity (p. 29-30)
St. Peter Publications Inc. Charlottetown, PEI, Canada
Reprinted with permission of the publisher.
Almighty and everlasting God, give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain that which thou dost promise, make us to love that which thou dost command; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.
As our faith strengthens, the more real becomes our hope and the greater our capacity to love. As these virtues develop within us we learn to pour out our heart to God and to pray for an increase of them in our souls. The Bible makes it clear that we are called to a continual growth and progress in our Christian life by nourishing these virtues until we finally meet our God and become like Christ. “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall more abundance.” (Matt. 13. 12). “Now the Lord is that Spirit... But we all...are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (II Cor. 3. 17, 18). We must never be satisfied with the faith, hope and charity which we currently possess, but we must plead daily for God’s grace to increase these Christian virtues in us.

The Collect places these virtues in St. Paul’s ordering of I Corinthians 13. 13, and St. Paul explains the relation between them in Colossians 1. 4, S. We pray for an increase of faith in God, an increase of hope for ourselves that we may obtain the heavenly promises, and the increase of love directed towards others.

One commentator has helped us to see the relation between the three Christian virtues in the following way:

Faith, hope and love (or charity) have a certain correspondence with the three divisions of time—past, present and future. Faith, in one of its chief actings, looks back to the past. It is faith in God’s revelation of Christ; faith in what Christ has done and suffered for man, all of which lies behind us in the history of the past. But faith also throws itself forward into the future, and when it does so, it takes the complexion of the nearby allied grace of hope; ...of these things which God hath promised, and which we desire to obtain. But are we to live only in the memories of the past, and the anticipations of the future? Assuredly no. In order that those bright anticipations may be well founded we must walk now in the way of God’s commandments, the ‘narrow way’, as our Lord calls it, ‘which leadeth’, and which alone leadeth, ‘unto life’ (see Matt. 7. 14). God indeed hath ‘chosen us to salvation’, but it is ‘through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth’, (see II Thess. 2. 13) ...And this sanctification and belief are evidenced (and can be evidenced) only by love. We shall never obtain that which God doth promise unless we love that which he commands—not keep his commandments only, but love them... The truth is that the commandments, which God lays upon us, are nothing else then the expression of his character and will towards us. And we do not love God himself, except we love his character and will... Without this love in the present there is no evidence that our faith really grasps the past, and our hope of a bright future is, in that case, a mere groundless delusion. (E.M. Goulbourn, The Collects of the Day, Volume II, pp. 109-110).