Collect for the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

This collect is a revision of William Bright’s translation of a collect from the Gelasian Sacramentary. The reference to “daily visitation” is especially a propos in Year C of the lectionary cycle in which the Gospel reading for the Fourth Sunday of Advent is the story of Mary’s visitation of her cousin Elizabeth. The prayer draws a parallel between the experience of Mary and that of the believer. One could argue that the “mansion prepared for himself” offers a striking contrast to the inn within which there was no room for the Holy Family. It is also possible to draw a different connection: between Mary’s readiness to bear the Son of God, and our willingness to open our heart to him.

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