Archive for the ‘prayer’ Category

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Celebrating the eight days of Easter

March 18, 2008

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We celebrate Easter each day this week.  We keep celebrating so that we might continue to enter into the meaning of the resurrection.  In the early Church, the newly baptized would be at each liturgy this week, wearing their white garments.  We go through our everyday lives this week conscious of the “white garments” we all wear.  We are renewed as a priestly people, committed with Jesus to give our lives for others.

The resurrection stories, which we read this week, come from communities that are proclaiming the good news.  The tomb is empty – Jesus’ tomb and every tomb that tries to claim us in death.  These are not believers who, in their deep desire, just made up the resurrection.  These are people who can hardly believe what they are seeing and experiencing.  They, like us now, had trouble recognizing his presence with them.

We let the prayers of this Easter week draw us into the joy.  Jesus is with us.  He is not dead, but alive.  And, that makes all the difference in the world in how much hope and courage we have, before any struggle, any possible fear of death.

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Closing Prayer

March 13, 2008

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Closing Prayer

My Jesus, I have traveled Your Way of the cross.
It seems so real and I feel so ashamed. I complain of my
sufferings and find obedience to the Father’s Will difficult. My Mind
bogged down by the poverty, sickness, starvation, greed and hatred
in the world.
There are many innocent people who suffer so unjustly. There are
those born with physical and mental defects. Do we understand that
You continue to carry Your cross in the minds and bodies of each
human being?
Help me to see the Father’s Will in every incident of my daily
life. This is what You did – you saw the Father’s Will in Your persecutors,
Your enemies and your pain.
You saw a beauty in the Cross and embraced it as a desired treasure.
My worldly mind is dulled by injustice and suffering and I
lose sight of the glory that is to come. Help me to trust the Father
and to realize that there is something great behind the most insignificant
suffering. There is Someone lifting my cross to fit my shoulders – there
is Divine Wisdom in all the petty annoyances that irk my soul
every day.
Teach me the lessons contained in my Cross,
the wisdom of its necessity, the beauty of its variety and the
fortitude that accompanies even the smallest cross.
Father, obtain for me the grace to be Jesus
to my neighbour and to see my neighbour
in Jesus.

Amen.

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Orthodox Evening Prayers

February 22, 2008

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The Trisagion Prayers

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Glory to You, O Lord, glory to You.

O Heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, who are in all places and fills all things, the treasury of good things and the giver of life:

Come and abide in us, cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O Good One.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy lmmortal, have mercy on us.
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy lmmortal, have mercy on us.
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy lmmortal, have mercy on us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, cleanse us from our sins. O Master, pardon our transgressions. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Your Name’s sake.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who are in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Yours is the Kingdom,and the power, and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Prayer for the Evening

O eternal God, King of all creation, who have kept me safe to attain to this hour, forgive me the sins which I have committed this day in thought, word, and deed. And cleanse, O Lord, my humble soul from every stain of flesh and spirit. Grant me, O Lord, to pass this night in peace, to rise from my bed, and to please Your Holy Name all the days of my life, and to vanquish the enemies, both corporeal and incorporeal, that contend against me. Deliver me, O Lord, from the vain thoughts that stain me, and from evil desires. For Yours is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-Begotten, begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father; by whom all things were made: who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried.The third day he rose again, according the the Scriptires: and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory, to judge the living and the dead; whose Kingdom shall have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, sho spoke by the prophets. And I believe in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Psalms

Sunday

Psalm 70

Monday

Psalm 143

Tuesday

Psalm 141

Wednesday

Psalm 130

Thursday

Psalm 130

Friday

Psalm 17

Saturday

Psalm 51

The Gospel and Epistle

Referring to the Lectionary in the Orthodoxy Study Bible, you may, as time permits, read the Gospel and
Epistle for this day.

Intercessory Prayers

Remember, O Lord Jesus Christ, our God, Your mercies and loving-kindnesses, which have been from everlasting, and for the sake of which You did become man and degin to endure crucifixion and death for the salvation of all who rightly believe in You. You rose from tge dead and ascended into heaven, and sit at the right hand of God the Father, and regard the humble prayers if all who call upon You with their whole heart. Incline Your ear and hear the humble entreaty of me, Your unprofitable servant, who offers it for an odor of spiritual fragrance for all Your people.

And first pf all rememver Your Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, which You have purchased with Your precious blood. Confirm and strengthen it, enarge and multiply it, keep it in peace, and preserve it unconquerable by the gates of hell forever. Heal the schisms of the churches, quench the ragings of the heathen, speedily undo and root out te growths of heresies, and bring them to naught by the power of Your Holy Spirit.

Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon all world rulers, on our president (name), on (names), and on all our civil authorities. Speak peace and blessing in their hearts for Your Holy Church and for all Your people, in order that we may live a calm and peaceful life, in all godliness and dignity.

Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon patriarchs, metropolitans, archbishops, priests, ministers, and deacons, and the whole clergy of Your Church, which You have established to feed the flock of Your word and by their prayers have mercy upon me, and save me, a sinner.

Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon my spiritual father (name) and by his holy prayers forgive me my transgressions.

Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon my parents (names), my spouse (name), my brothers and sisters (names), my children (names), my kinsmen after the flesh, and my friends, and grant them Your blessings both here and hereafter.

Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon the old, the young, the needy , the orphans and the widows, and on all that are in sickness and sorrow, in distress and affliction, in oppression and captivity, in prison and cofinement. More especially have mercy upon Your servants who are under persecution for Your sake and for the sake of the Orthodox Faith at the hands of heathen nations, of apostates, and of heretics: remember them, visit, strengthen, keep, and comfort them, and make haste to grant them, by Your power, relief, freedom, and deliverance.

Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon all who are sent on duty, all who travel, our fathers, brothers, and sisters, and upon all true Chistians.

Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon those who envy and affront me, and do me harm, and do not let them perish through me, a sinner.

Those who depart from the Orthodox Faith, dazzled by destroying heresies, enlighten by the light of Your holy wisdom, and unite them to Your Holy, Apostolic, Catholic Church.

(Add here any additional petitions.)

A Prayer

O Christ our God, who at all times and in every hour in heaven and on earth are worshipped and glorified; who are longsuffering, merciful, and compassionate; who love the just and show mercy upon sinners; who call all to salvation through the promise of the good things to come; O Lord, in thise hour receive our supplications and direct our lives according to Your commandments. Sanctify our souls, purify our bodies, correct our thoughts, cleanse our minds; deliver us from all tribulation, evil, and distress. Surround us with Your holy angels, so that guided and guarded by them, we may attain to the unity of the Faith and ot the full knowledge of Your unapproachable glory. For You are blessed unto ages of ages. Amen.

It is truly right to bless you, O Theotokos, ever blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim, without defilement you gave birth to God the Word: true Theotokos, we magnify you.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us.

Amen.

 

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Orthodox Morning Prayers

February 22, 2008

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The Trisagion Prayers

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Glory to You, O Lord, glory to You.

O Heavenly King, O Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, who are in all places and fills all things, the treasury of good things and the giver of life:

Come and abide in us, cleanse us from every stain, and save our souls, O Good One.

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy lmmortal, have mercy on us.
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy lmmortal, have mercy on us.
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy lmmortal, have mercy on us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

O Most Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, cleanse us from our sins. O Master, pardon our transgressions. O Holy One, visit and heal our infirmities, for Your Name’s sake.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father, who are in heaven, hallowed be Your Name. Your Kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

For Yours is the Kingdom,and the power, and the glory, of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Morning Prayer to the Holy Trinity

Arising from sleep, I thank You, O Most Holy Trinity, that, for the sake of Your great kindness and longsuffering, You have not had indignation against me, for I am slothful and sinful. Neither have You destroyed me in my transgressions, but You have shown Your customary love toward mankind, and have raised me up as I lay in heedlessness, that I might sing my morning hymn and glorify Your sovereignty. Now enlighten the eyes of my understanding, open my ears to receive Your words, and teach me Your commandments. Help me to do Your will, to sing to You, to confess You from my heart, and to praise Your All-Holy Name: of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

The Nicene Creed

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-Begotten, begotten of the Father before all worlds, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made; of one essence with the Father; by whom all things were made: who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried. The third day he rose again, according the the Scriptires: and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again with glory, to judge the living and the dead; whose Kingdom shall have no end. And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, sho spoke by the prophets. And I believe in One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Psalms

Sunday

Psalm 5

Monday

Psalm 90

Tuesday

Psalm 101

Wednesday

Psalm 3

Thursday

Psalm 63

Friday

Psalm 103

Saturday

Psalm 5

The Gospel and Epistle

Referring to the Lectionary in the Orthodoxy Study Bible, you may, as time permits, read the Gospel and
Epistle for this day.

Intercessory Prayers

Remember, O Lord Jesus Christ, our God, Your mercies and loving-kindnesses, which have been from everlasting, and for the sake of which You did become man and degin to endure crucifixion and detah for the salvation of all who rightly believe in You. You rose from tge dead and ascended into heaven, and sit at the right hand of God the Father, and regard the humble prayers if all who call upon You with their whole heart. Incline Your ear and hear the humble entreaty of me, Your unprofitable servant, who offers it for an odor of spiritual fragrance for all Your people.

And first pf all rememver Your Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, which You have purchased with Your precious blood. Confirm and strengthen it, enarge and multiply it, keep it in peace, and preserve it unconquerable by the gates of hell forever. Heal the schisms of the churches, quench the ragings of the heathen, speedily undo and root out te growths of heresies, and bring them to naught by the power of Your Holy Spirit.

Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon all world rulers, on our president (name), on (names), and on all our civil authorities. Speak peace and blessing in their hearts for Your Holy Church and for all Your people, in order that we may live a calm and peaceful life, in all godliness and dignity.

Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon patriarchs, metropolitans, archbishops, priests, ministers, and deacons, and the whole clergy of Your Church, which You have established to feed the flock of Your word and by their prayers have mercy upon me, and save me, a sinner.

Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon my spiritual father (name) and by his holy prayers forgive me my transgressions.

Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon my parents (names), my spouse (name), my brothers and sisters (names), my children (names), my kinsmen after the flesh, and my friends, and grant them Your blessings both here and hereafter.

Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon the old, the young, the needy, the orphans and the widows, and on all that are in sickness and sorrow, in distress and affliction, in oppression and captivity, in prison and cofinement. More especially have mercy upon Your servants who are under persecution for Your sake and for the sake of the Orthodox Faith at the hands of heathen nations, of apostates, and of heretics: remember them, visit, strengthen, keep, and comfort them, and make haste to grant them, by Your power, relief, freedom, and deliverance.

Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon all who are sent on duty, all who travel, our fathers, brothers, and sisters, and upon all true Chistians.

Save, O Lord, and have mercy upon those who envy and affront me, and do me harm, and do not let them perish through me, a sinner.

Those who depart from the Orthodox Faith, dazzled by destroying heresies, enlighten by the light of Your holy wisdom, and unite them to Your Holy, Apostolic, Catholic Church.

(Add here any additional petitions.)

Prayer for the Beginning of the Day

O Lord, grant me to greet the coming day in peace. Help me in all things to rely upon Your holy will. In every hour of the day reveal Your will to me. Bless my dealings with all who surround me. Teach me to treat all that comes to me throughout the day with peace of soul and with firm conviction that Your will governs all. In all my deeds and words, guide my thoughts and feelings. In unforseen events, let me not forget that all are sent by You. Teach me to act firmly and wisely, without embittering and embarrassing others. Give me strength to bear the fatigue of the coming day with all that it shall bring. Direct my will, teach me to pray, and You, Yourself, pray in me. Amen.

It is truly right to bless you, O Theotokos, ever blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim, without defilement you gave birth to God the Word: true Theotokos, we magnify you.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.

Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, have mercy.

Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, O Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us.

Amen.

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Contemplative Community

January 22, 2008

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Contemplative community is solitude-community
which provides leisure to celebrate life.

Community is always poised between two poles: solitude and togetherness. Without togetherness community disperses; without solitude community collapses into a mass, a crowd. But solitude and togetherness are not mutually antagonistic; on the contrary, they make each other possible.

Solitude without togetherness deteriorates into loneliness. One needs strong roots in togetherness to be solitary rather than lonely when one is alone. Aloneness is neutral; loneliness is aloneness which is cut off from togetherness; solitude is aloneness supported by togetherness, blessed solitude.

Togetherness without solitude is not truly togetherness, but rather side-by-sideness. To live merely side by side is alienation. We need time and space to be alone, to find ourselves in solitude, before we can give ourselves to one another in true togetherness.

A particular balance between solitude and togetherness will characterize a particular community. But by “balance” we mean more than the ratio between time spent alone and time spent with one another; we mean an inner relatedness of solitude and togetherness which makes each of them what it is in a given case.

On one end of the spectrum lies a type of community in which togetherness is the goal that is sought above all: a particularly close-knit family, for example. We may call this type togetherness-community. On the other end of the spectrum lies a community totally oriented towards solitude, for instance, a community of hermits. Let us call this type solitude-community. Since in either case both solitude and togetherness are essential for true community, the difference is one of emphasis.

The spectrum is continuous, but the distinction is clear; in
togetherness-community, togetherness is the measure of solitude; the members have a right and a duty to get as much solitude as they need for deep and strong togetherness. In solitude-community, solitude is the measure of togetherness; here the members have a right and a duty to get as much
togetherness as each one needs to support and enrich solitude.

A human being cannot survive without community. Nor can one be truly happy unless one finds the particular type of community that will fulfill one’s needs for solitude and togetherness. The process of matching one¹s personal needs with a particular type of community within the wide spectrum of
possibilities is an essential part of finding one’s vocation, what one feels called to choose at a given time.

What do we mean by “contemplative life?”

By contemplative life we do not mean life in a cloister. Contemplative life as a vocation means a particular form of life in which, ideally at least, every detail of daily living is oriented towards recollection. By recollection we mean mindfulness, ultimately unlimited mindfulness, the inner attitude by which we find meaning. Contemplative life in this sense is a form of life designed to provide an optimum environment for radical
search for meaning.

Meaning and purpose are not identical. It is possible, for instance, to accomplish a purpose that has no meaning. Two different inner gestures correspond to purpose and meaning. When we comprehend the purpose of a given thing or action we grasp it, we are in control. When we want to understand the meaning of a given thing or situation, it must touch us (“How does this grab you?”, as the young people say); we are responsive, but no longer in control.

By grasping purpose we gain knowledge; by allowing meaning to take hold of us we gain that wisdom which is the ultimate goal of contemplative life. The two are mutually complementary; we must distinguish without separating them. The openness for meaning is joined to the pursuit of purpose through leisure.

Leisure is not the opposite of work; we should be able to work in leisure. The opposite of work is play. Work is something we do to accomplish a purpose which lies outside the activity itself; once the purpose is accomplished, the activity ceases. (We polish shoes in order to have them polished, not in order to polish them; once they are polished, we stop.) Play is something we do because we find meaning in it, an activity
which has all its purpose within itself. (We sing in order to sing, for its own sake, not in order to have sung.)

Leisure introduces into every activity an element of play, an element of doing whatever it be also for its own sake, not only to get it done. Thus leisure provides the climate in which we can be open for meaning. Contemplative life as a form of life molded by a radical search for meaning will necessarily be a life of leisure, ascetical leisure.

It seems possible to gain some insights into the ascetic elements of contemplative life by an analysis of the so-called peak experience. This term denotes a deeply personal experience of meaningful insight, often in a flash, always in a moment of leisure. The experience itself is totally
unreflective, but later reflection finds in it a series of paradoxes.

What takes place in the peak experience is paradoxically that I both lose myself, and yet I am in this experience more truly myself than at any other time. Expressions one uses afterwards to describe what happened may include: ”I was out of myself”; “I was simply carried away”; “I completely lost myself”; and yet “I was more fully alive, more truly myself than ever.”

Another paradox of which one becomes aware in the peak experience is the fact that one is at the same time alone (not lonely) in a profound sense, and yet deeply one with all others present or even absent. Often a peak experience occurs during a moment of solitude, out in nature for instance, but even when I am in the midst of a large crowd, say, in a concert hall, this one passage of music which touches me deeply seems to single me out, as if it had been written and performed especially for me. On the other hand, even on the mountain top or on a lonely shore my heart expands in the peak experience to embrace earth and sky and all living creatures. The paradox is simply that I am most intimately one with all when I am most intimately alone.

There is a third paradox implicit in the peak experience: In a sudden flash of insight everything makes sense; everything, life and death and the whole universe; but not as if someone had given us the solution to a complicated problem: it is rather that we are reconciled with the problem. For one moment we stop questioning and a universal answer emerges; or rather, we glimpse the fact that the answer was always quietly there, only our questions drowned it out. When I stop asking, the answer is there.

The three paradoxes with which we are confronted in the peak experience provide a key for the understanding of contemplative life: they are like seeds out of which the most universal ascetical practices of contemplative tradition grow. Out of the paradoxical insight that I am most truly myself
when I lose myself grows the ascetical practice of detachment. Poverty or detachment aims at more than giving away what I have; I must ultimately give away what I am, so as to truly be.

The experience of being alone when one is one with all provides a key for the understanding of celibacy. A celibate person sustains the paradox which others experience only in a brief moment. She or he is alone so as to be truly one with all. One could also say: s/he is so deeply united with all that solitude
is paradoxically the only adequate expression for this unity.

Ascetical obedience is also rooted in the peak experience, in the insight, namely, that everything makes sense the moment I stop questioning, the moment I listen. Learning to listen is the heart of obedience; following someone else¹s commands is merely a means to this end. In the last analysis, we have only the choice between absurdity and obedience. “Ab-surdus” means ”absolutely deaf”; “ob-audiens” denotes the attitude of one who has learned to listen thoroughly, to listen with a heart attuned to the deepest meaning.

The peak experience is a moment in which meaning strikes us, takes hold of us. Contemplative asceticism serves to support our wholehearted search for meaning. It makes sense, then, that the structural paradox of the peak experience should provide a clue for understanding the paradoxical structure of ascetical practice. Contemplative life is basically the attempt to expose oneself to the meaning of any given moment (through detachment, celibacy, obedience) in unlimited mindfulness.

Solitude community

Contemplative community in the strict sense will be a community of people who support one another in that radical search for meaning which finds expression in ascetical tradition. However, solitude is an integral part of this tradition in all its forms. In contemplative community the members live in community so as to protect one another’s solitude both from deteriorating into loneliness and from being infringed upon by misguided togetherness. If there is one lonely person in the community, the others must ask themselves: “Have we supported her aloneness by the togetherness she needed?” Yet, each one must also ask herself again and again: “Have I respected the other’s solitude? Have I protected it against my own whims of togetherness?” We are the guardians of one another’s solitude, to the left as well as to the right.

Solitude, however, is not an end in itself. The end is a community supportive of the quest for meaning; and this is to say that the end is a community of leisure for only through leisurely living can we find meaning. The very reason why people join to form community of this kind is the mutual help they can give to one another in creating an environment in
which leisure is possible. The leisure of which we are speaking is not the privilege of those who have time, but the virtue of those who take time. Contemplative community is solitude-community for the sake of leisure. To live leisurely means to take things one by one, to single them out for grateful consideration. And this is the essence of celebration. All other
aspects of celebration are optional, but when everything is stripped away that can be stripped away, these two elements remain. Wherever someone singles out something (or someone) for grateful consideration, we have a little celebration. Celebration cannot and need not be justified by any purpose; it is ultimately meaningful. To live leisurely means to celebrate every moment of life. Contemplative community is solitude-community which provides leisure to celebrate life.

Is community as you experience it today this kind of community? If not, why not? And if we think it should be, how can we make it so?


Reprinted from Benedictines; Summer 1971; vol. xxvi, #2.

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Byzantine Prayer Rope

January 5, 2008

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Byzantine Prayer Rope

The Byzantine prayer rope, also known as the chotki in Russian and komboskini in Greek, is a very ancient aid in meditative Christian prayer, which, unfortunately, is virtually unknown in West. It dates back to at least to the seventh century, and possible as far back as the fourth century as St. Basil the Great is said to have used one very similar to the one describe in this article.

There are many different variations of the prayer rope. Traditionally, they are made out of wool with a set number of special knots marking the recitation of the Jesus Prayer; although, it is quite common for beads to be used instead of knots (the English word bead comes from the Old Saxon word for prayer, bede). These knots may be divided by beads, on which other prayers may be recited. The two ends of the rope are joined together to make a loop. After the joint, follows a cross, which may be preceded by a knot and a bead. The Cross is also traditionally made out of knots.

The most common number of knots in a prayer rope is 100. A 100 knot rope may simply consist of 100 knots and a cross. Typically, however, the knots are divided into three groups of 33, representing the Trinity and the 33 years of Our Lord’s life on earth. To complete the number 100, between the joint and the cross is a bead and a knot. A smaller version that can be worn on the wrist can be made with only 33 knots. When a 33 knot rope is used, one goes around the loop three times, and then to the bead and the knot after the joint.

A 100 knot rope can also be divided into two groups of 50 or four groups of 25. Like wise, 50 and 25 knot ropes can be made, of which the 50 knot version can be divided into two groups of 25. If an additional knot comes after the joint, the number of knots becomes 101.

The 33 knot version can be divided into three groups of 11. As well, there is a 300 knot version, and even 600 and 1000 knot versions.

How to Pray With a Prayer Rope

The central prayer prayed with a prayer rope is the Jesus Prayer, also called the Prayer of the Heart, which is based on the words of the tax collector Luke 18:13, and the words of the blind beggar Bartimaeus in Mark 10:47. This prayer is repeated as one moves from one knot to the next, totalling 100 or 101 repetitions. No other prayer is necessary; just the Jesus Prayer (if you are only praying the Jesus Prayer, you can ignore the dividing beads).

This repetition should not be a monotonous attempt to gain God’s attention (cf. Matthew 6:7), but an attempt to change oneself by clearing one’s mind of everything except God. Each repetition should be slow and deliberate: praying, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,” as you inhale; and, “have mercy on me a sinner,” as you exhale. The goal is to make this prayer so connected with one’s breathing that one can truly pray without ceasing (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:17).

This style of prayer is very personal, being physically connected to one’s breathing; therefore, this prayer must be done individually, not in a group.

In addition to the Jesus Prayer, other prayers may be prayed at the beginning, at the end, and on the beads dividing the knots. A suggested formula is given below; however, this is only a suggestion.

A common alternative is Psalm 50 (Miserere) instead of Psalm 129 (De Profundis). There are also alternate variations on the Jesus Prayer

Psalm 50 (Miserere)

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness. In your compassion blot out my offense. O wash me more and more from my guilt and cleans me from my sin. My offenses truly I know them; my sin is always before me. Against you, you alone, I have sinned; what is evil in your sight I have done. That you may be justified when you give sentence and be without reproach when you judge. O see, in guilt I was born, a sinner was I conceived. Indeed you love truth in the heart; then in the secret of my heart teach me wisdom. O purify me, then I shall be clean; O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow. Make me hear rejoicing and gladness, that the bones you have crushed may revive. From my sin turn away your face and blot out all my guilt. A pure heart create for me, O God, put a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away form your presence, nor deprive me of your holy spirit. Give me again the joy of your help; with a spirit of fervor sustain me, that I may teach transgressors your ways and sinners may return to you. O rescue me, God, my helper, and my tongue shall ring out your goodness. O Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall declare your praise. For in sacrifice you take no delight, burnt offering from me you would refuse, my sacrifice, a contrite spirit. A humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn. In your goodness, show favor to Zion: rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will be pleased with lawful sacrifice, holocausts offered on your altar.

Jesus Prayer

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on us.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on name of person.

As one makes a prayer rope, he prays the Jesus Prayer, particularly for the intentions of the one that will use it. In return, on the last knot before the cross, one prays for the intentions of the person that made it.

The tassel at the end is to dry one’s tears.

Suggested Formula

In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

O God, cleanse me, a sinner. (three times)

O heavenly King, Paraclete, Spirit of Truth, who art present everywhere and dost permeate all things, Treasury of blessings and giver of life, come and take up thy dwelling within us. Purify us from every stain and save our souls, O gracious Lord.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy and Immortal, have mercy on us. (three times)

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever. Amen.

O Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. Lord, forgive us our sins.

Most Holy God, pardon our transgressions. Do Thou Who are holy visit us and heal our infirmities for Thy name’s sake.

Lord, have mercy on us. (three times)

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

Come let us bow down to Our Lord God. Come let us bow down and adore Our Lord God. Come let us bow down and adore Christ Himself, Our Lord and God.

Psalm 129 (De Profundis)

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord, Lord, hear my voice! O let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleading. If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt, Lord, who would survive? But with you is found forgiveness: for this we revere you. My soul is waiting for the Lord, I count on his word. My soul is longing for the Lord more than watchmen for daybreak. Let the watchman count on daybreak and Israel on the Lord. Because with the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption, Israel indeed He will redeem from all its iniquity.

Profession of Faith

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible. And I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried. And the third day He rose again according to the Scriptures and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead, whose kingdom will have no end. And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And I believe in one holy Christian and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, and I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. (33 times)
Remember me, O Lord, when You come into Your Kingdom!

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. (33 times)
Remember me, O Master, when You come into Your Kingdom!

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner. (33 times)
Remember me, O Holy One, when You come into Your Kingdom!

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and for ever and ever. Amen.

Lord, have mercy (three times)

In the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Where to Find Prayer Ropes

If you do a Google search on “chotki”, you will find a number of sites from which you can order a prayer rope; however, these are mostly ropes of beads and not knots. I’ve not seen a knotted prayer rope for sale, but then again, I’m from the Roman Rite, and I haven’t spent much time in Byzantine churches and stores. I would suggest that you ask around and find someone that makes them, or better yet, make one yourself.

How to Make a Prayer Rope

The process of making a prayer rope is itself a form of meditative prayer. Each knot takes at least three and a half minutes to tie once you know what you’re doing, making the total time spent on a 100 knot rope over six hours. As I stated above, while one makes a prayer rope, he prays the Jesus Prayer, particularly for the intentions of the one that will use it.

The hardest part in making a prayer rope is learning to make the special knot. There is a 120 minute video that teaches how to tie the knot, and everything else you need know about making a prayer rope, available from FIREBIRD Videos, Audios & Books and Light and Life Publishing. Martin D. Watt also has a really good webpage describing how to tie the prayer rope knot titled How to tie an Orthodox Prayer Rope knot. It’s from this webpage that I learned how to tie the knot.

Traditionally, prayer ropes are made out of wool. Mr. Watt likes to use rattail because it is easier to work with, but I like to use wool yarn. I used acrylic yarn for the first prayer rope I made because it was available around the house. My second prayer rope was made out of wool yarn, and was much easier to work with than acrylic.

I don’t really know much about yarn, but the yarn that I’m using is labelled as “4.5 MM – 18 STS / 24 ROWS To 10 CM.” I find that yarn this size is best tripled instead of doubled; although it depends on the size of the beads as to whether you should double or triple the yarn. If you double the yarn, the knot made from four strands must not slip through the hole in the beads. If you triple the yarn, you must be able to thread twelve strands through the hole in the bead after the joint.

I find that it is very easy to thread the yarn through a bead with the aid of a small crochet needle. A crochet needle is also useful when “pulling through the loops.”

When the yarn is tripled, I find that each strand needs to be seven yards long for a 100 knot rope, and three and a half yards for a 33 knot rope. I’m six feet tall, so my yard may be bigger than most.

To the right is an innovation of mine; although I’m sure I’m not the only one to have thought of it. Half of the strands between the horizontal knots of the cross are looped so that they can double the strands that make up the tassel without having to sewing on other strands. If you’re tripling the yarn, you’re left with 24 strands for the tassel. If you double the yarn, you’re left with 16 strands. The bottom knot of the cross has the looped strands of the horizontal knots passing through it. Don’t cut the loop until the bottom knot has been tied so that you can distinguish between the strands of the knot and the strands that are passing through the knot.

I like to use all of the strands (12 or 8) for the cross, and only half of the strands (6 or 4) for the knot between the cross and the bead after the joint. The knot between the cross and the bead after the joint has half of the strands passing through it. So as to distinguish between the strands of this knot and the strands that are passing through it, tie the strands that are passing through into a slip knot.

I don’t make a joining knot. I thread all of the strands (12 or 8) through a bead, and then tie the knot before the cross. When tying this knot, I use half of the strands from one side of the circle, and half from the other side. This makes the knot a little more stable.

I like the symbolism of tripling the yarn. The three strands symbolise the Trinity, the twelve strands after the joint symbolise the Twelve Tribes of Israel, and the twelve strands that join the Twelve Tribes of Israel in the cross symbolise the Twelve Apostles.

 

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Morning Prayer – 6 (Celtic Prayer)

January 5, 2008

cross.jpg

Introduction

Lord, hear my voice when I call to you. My heart has prompted me to

seek your face; I seek it Lord; do not hide from me, alleluia

adapted from Psalm 25

The maker of all things,

The Lord God worship we;

Heaven white with angels’ wings,

Earth and the white-waved sea.

May the Trinity protect me wherever I stay, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

May Jesus and the Father,

may the Holy Spirit sanctify us!

May the mysterious God not hidden in darkness,

may the bright King save us!

The praise of Christ is illustrious speech,

The worship of God’s Son is an art full of virtue.

May everyone who has sung it or heard it

Belong to God’s kingdom without rejection.

Christ, Christ, hear me!

Christ, Christ of your meekness!

Christ, Christ love me!

Sever me not from your sweetness!

Litany

Have mercy on us O God, Father almighty.

immeasurable God.

patient God.

incorruptible God.

immortal God.

eternal God.

perfect God.

merciful God.

wonderful God.

heavenly Father, who abides in heaven,

Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us O God, Father almighty,

God of earth.

God of fire,

God of the waters of wonder.

God of the gusting and blustering air.

God of the many languages found

throughout the world,

heavenly Father, you who abide in heaven,

Have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, O God the Almighty,

Jesus Christ Son of the living God,

O true Knowledge.

O true Light of love, who enlightens all darkness,

O guiding Light.

O Sun of truth.

O Morning Star.

O Brightness of the divinity.

O Radiance of eternal brightness.

O Christ crucified.

O eternal judge, have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us, O God the Almighty,

Jesus Christ Son of the living God.

O Angel of great counsel.

O true Prophet.

O true Apostle.

O true Teacher.

O High Priest

O Nazarene.

O Christ crucified.

O eternal judge, have mercy on us.

Have mercy on us Almighty God,

O Holy Spirit.

O Teacher of true wisdom,

O Spirit of understanding.

O Spirit of Counsel.

O Spirit of strength.

O Spirit of knowledge.

O Spirit of tenderness

– O Holy Spirit, who rules all creation, visible and invisible,

Have mercy on me.

Have mercy on us Almighty God,

O Holy Spirit.

O Spirit of love.

O Spirit of grace.

O Spirit, from whom all good comes.

O Spirit, who annuls all guilt.

O Spirit, who wipes out sin.

– O Spirit, who rules all creation, visible and invisible, Have mercy on me.

Invocation

Lord, be with us this day,

Within us to purify us;

Above us to draw us up;

Beneath us to sustain us;

Before us to lead us;

Behind us to restrain us;

Around us to protect us.

St Patrick

We must get up before the sun to bless you, O God,

And adore you at the break of day.

Wisdom 16.28

Antiphon and Psalmody

O God, you are my God;

Eagerly I seek you, my soul is athirst for you.

Psalm 95.1–8

Come, let us sing to the Lord;*

let us shout for joy to the rock of our salvation.

Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving*

and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.

For the Lord is a great God,*

and a great king above all gods.

In his hands are the depths of the earth,*

and the heights of the hills are his also.

The sea is his, for he made it,*

and his hands moulded the dry land.

Come, let us bow down and bend the knee,*

and kneel before the Lord our Maker.

For he is our God,

and we are the people of his pasture

and the sheep of his hand.*

O that today you would hearken to his voice!

‘Harden not your hearts,

as your forebears did in the wilderness,*

at Meribah, and on that day at Massah, when they tempted me.’

Glory to the Father and to the Son:*

And to the Holy Spirit;

As it was in the beginning, is now:

And shall be for ever.

Amen.

O God, you are my God; Eagerly I seek you, my soul is athirst for you.

Reading

Intercessions and Thanksgivings

Lord’s Prayer

Almighty God,

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit

to me the least of saints,

to me allow that I may keep even the smallest door,

the farthest, darkest, coldest door,

the door that is least used, the stiffest door.

If only it be in Your house, O God,

that I can see Your glory even afar,

and hear Your voice,

and know that I am with You, O God.

St Columba

Christ the lowly and meek,

Christ the all powerful,

Be in the heart of each to whom I speak,

In the mouth of each who speaks to me,

In all who draw near me,

Or see me, or hear me!

St Patrick

May the road rise to meet you,

May the wind be always at your back,

May the sun shine warm upon your face,

May the rain fall soft upon your fields,

And until we meet again,

May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

AMEN

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