ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who art always more ready to hear than we are to pray, and art wont to give more than either we desire, or deserve; Pour down upon us the abundance of thy mercy; forgiving us those things whereof our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things which we are not worthy to ask, but through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, thy Son, our Lord. Amen.
What a wonderful meditation on God’s love that opens this collect. Whether consciously or not, many times we imagine that God is like some cheap and ungenerous boss who, when he gives, only gives begrudgingly. The prayer reminds that if there is any one party that is slack in this communion it is man and not God. As St. James writes in his epistle, ye have not, because ye ask not (4.2). We might also be incredulous that the good things God wants to give us encompass and exceed all that we can possibly desire. Simple definitions for grace and mercy are that mercy is not getting what we do deserve (punishment) and grace is getting that which we do not deserve (everlasting life and glory). Jesus has revealed God to be the One whom we address as our Father. Just like the father of the prodigal, our heavenly Father stands and scans the horizon for any sign of his dispersed children coming homeward: a humble prayer of the heart issued from stammering lips; a modest flame of desire for the good life; a sudden realization of the abundance that has been shown to us and all of it not of my deserving. In this collect, we are reminded and invited to turn to such a heavenly Father who wants to love us beyond every conceivable imagination.