Locust Street Letters
By Frank Lawrence Vernon
Philadelphia: St. Mark's Church, Locust Street.
ST. MARK'S, PHILADELPHIA.
THE THIRD SUNDAY IN ADVENT, 1941.
MY DEAR PEOPLE:
The Collect for today is a prayer for the Clergy. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday of this week will be Ember Days, days of special prayer for those who are to be admitted into Holy Orders.
For the Clergy we are bidden to pray that God will enable them to be faithful ministers and stewards of the mysteries committed to their administration, that they may so prepare and make ready His way, by turning the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, that at the second coming to judge the world we may be found an acceptable people in His sight.
For those who are to be admitted into Holy Orders we are bidden to pray that the Bishops, who are the Pastors of God’s flock, may lay hands suddenly on no man, but faithfully and wisely make choice of fit persons, to serve in the Sacred Ministry. And to those who shall be ordained to any holy function, that He will give grace and heavenly benediction; that both by their life and doctrine they may show forth His glory, and set forth the salvation of all men.
In the alternative Ember prayer we are bidden to pray to Almighty God, the Giver of all good gifts, Who by His divine providence has appointed divers Orders in His Church, that He will give grace to all those who are to be called to any office and administration in the same; and so replenish them with the truth of His doctrine, and endue them with innocency of life, that they may faithfully serve before Him, to the glory of His Great Name, and the benefit of His Holy Church.
In the Ordering of Deacons the Bishop prays that those who have been accepted and admitted unto the Office of Deacons may be modest, humble and constant in their ministration and to have a ready will to observe all Spiritual Discipline.
In the Ordering of Priests the Bishop prays that those called to the Office of Priesthood may be so replenished with the truth of God’s Doctrine, and adorned with innocency of life, that, both by word and good example, they may faithfully serve in the Office of Priesthood, to the glory of His Name, and the edification of His Church.
In the Form of Ordaining or Consecrating of a Bishop, the prayer is offered that God will mercifully behold the person called to the Work and Ministry of a Bishop, and so replenish him with the truth of Doctrine, and adorn him with innocency of life, that both by word and deed, he may faithfully serve in that office, to the glory of God, and the edifying and well-governing of His Church.
In the Litany we and all other faithful people pray that God will be pleased to illuminate all Bishops, Priests and Deacons, with true knowledge and understanding of God’s Word; and that both by their preaching and living they may set it forth, and show it accordingly.
In the Prayer for the whole state of Christ’s Church, repeated at every offer, inv of the Eucharistic sacrifice, the petition is offered that God will give grace to all Bishops and other Ministers, (Priests and Deacons) that they may, both by their life and doctrine, set forth God’s true and lively Word, and rightly and duly administer His Holy Sacraments.
This is the work of intercession in which the faithful on earth join with the faithful who have departed this life, and with all the company of Heaven. In this company of intercessors we all have our place. In this work we join with special intention at Embertide.
We pray especially at this season for the holy Church throughout the world. The Church is the Kingdom of Our Lord. Our Lord has told us that His Kingdom is not of this world. He has told us that He has overcome the world. He has told us that the gates of hell shall not prevail against His Church.
So we pray with certain faith and with sure hope for the Kingdom that shall never fall nor pass away.
Affectionately in Our Lord,