Every year, Father Spiritual Director selects a classic Christian spiritual work for us all to read during Lent, with a small reading planned for every day. We started with The Introduction to the Devout Life, by St Francis de Sales, then we had Revelations of Divine Love, by Julian of Norwich, and last year, The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis.
This year, we are reading the Cloud of Unknowing, by Unknown. It is a spiritual letter written at the end of the thirteenth century from (probably) a hermit priest in the Cistercian, probably in the East Midlands, to a young man. It's been on my bookshelf to read for ages, so I'm glad I'm finally doing it.
The book, of course, starts with a very well-known prayer, used in the Sarum liturgy before the protestant reformation in England, and, thankfully, was kept alive by the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, heavily amended over the centuries, a prayer known as the Collect for Purity.
In the Catholic context (many nations before the reformation used their own versions, or uses, of the Roman Rite, and some dioceses even had their own rite altogether. In southern England, the Use of Sarum - or Salisbury - was the common manner of celebrating the Roman Rite until 1549), it was recited in the vestry before the Mass. The priest would enter the sacristy, and put on the sacred vestments. Then he would recite the Veni Creator Spiritus, and then recite the Collect:
O God,unto whom all hearts be opened,all desires known,and from whom no secrets are hid,cleanse the thoughts of our hearts,by the impouring of thy Holy Ghost,that we may perfectly love thee,and faithfully serve thee.Through Christ our Lord.Amen.
In Latin of course!
Maybe we could say this prayer every morning this Lent.