Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Litany of Peace: Let us pray to the Lord.




Here is a deacon singing the Litany of Peace at the start of The Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom. This liturgy, prayed by Eastern Christians of the Byzantine Rite, traces its origins to the 4th century. Notice the deacon holds up the end of his stole - a kind of angel wing - interceding and bringing to worship the whole world in all of its need. For the Christian, worship is essentially communal: Eleven times the deacon invites, "Let us pray to the Lord."


Deacon: Bless, Father.
Priest: Blessed is the kingdom of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages.
Choir: Amen.

Deacon: In peace let us pray to the Lord.
Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For the peace from above and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.
Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For the peace of the whole world, for the welfare of the Holy Churches of God, and for the union of all, let us pray to the Lord.
Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For this holy house, and for those who enter it with faith, reverence and the fear of God, let us pray to the Lord.
Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For (here is named the local bishops, patriarchs and even the Pope of Rome if the Liturgy is offered by Byzantine Catholics) for the honourable Priesthood, the Diaconate in Christ, and for all the clergy and the people, let us pray to the Lord.
Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For our country, our President, our Congress, and all who are in seats of authority, let us pray to the Lord.
Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For this city, and for every city and land, and for those who live in them by faith, let us pray to the Lord.
Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For seasonable weather, the abundance of the fruits of the earth and for peaceful times, let us pray to the Lord.
Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: For those who travel by land, by water, by air, for the sick, and the suffering, for prisoners and captives and for their salvation, let us pray to the Lord.
Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: That He would deliver us from all tribulation, anger, danger, and necessity, let us pray to the Lord.
Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace.
Choir: Lord, have mercy.

Deacon: Remembering our most holy, most pure, most blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and Ever-Virgin, Mary, with all the saints, let us commend ourselves and one another, and all of our life unto Christ our God. 
Choir: To Thee, O Lord.

Priest: For to Thee belongs all glory, honour and worship, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. 
Choir: Amen

Here's a bit of commentary to help us understand the Litany.

Notice, the deacon calls out to the priest, asking him to begin: Bless Father! At once the priest calls upon the Holy Trinity, establishing this prayer as communal and relational, as God's own inner life is communal.

Salvation of our souls. This doesn't just mean, "Oh God, get us to heaven," but, how do I need salvation right now? "Oh God, save me from my temper, save me from my moodiness, save me from this addiction, save me from my ignorance, my closed-in worldview, my bitterness."

Fear of God: not that I'm afraid God is going to get me, but that I would fear only that which could take me away from God.

Seats of authority: Not just politicians (as much as they need prayer) or government people, but the authority of the teachers, the boss, the supervisor. Name the authorities in your own life.

Deliver us from anger, which is resentment. When identifying resentment within we can pray: "Oh God, as angry as I am right now with - N - give him/her/them, blessings and all they need for salvation."

Again we hear, "save us" - there is an urgency to the plea being repeated.

Then, as the litany draws to a close, the priest calls out for God to be given what belongs to God: Glory, which is God's greatness, Honor, which is to acknowledge that God has the first and most important place, and Worship, that inner bowing: God is God and not us, however great we think we are.

This litany has restorative energies when we feel we're teetering on the edge.








10 comments:

  1. I am always looking for ways to restore my energy in Christ. Trying , to fight that feeling that I am not alone in the daily struggles of the day. Even though, my days get way to busy. This post like many others never fail to bring back a confidence in God's mercy and the desire to belong to Jesus and Mary. Grateful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm grateful too. I suppose the people of every time and place say it: "What times we live in!" And we say it too from our own experience of the world we live in. And I believe that God is so close we can miss it - like a printed page so close to my eyes I can't comprehend.

      Delete
  2. Thank you for sharing this with us. As always, I very much appreciate your insights, explaining to us what we might not interpret on our own after a first reading. All these prayers asking for peace and softening of hearts. My hope is that when I die, I will find out that they were not sent up in vain.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Jesus doesn't disappoint. God knows when the little sparrow falls and the hairs on my head - all the more God takes note of our prayer. I believe it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for this video. Might I suggest that people save all of your original videos in one place so they can easily go back to them. They are so prayerful, each with their own message and spiritual twist.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Some of the most powerful prayer experience I have been witness to has taken place in small community where people have gathered with a sense of purposeful focus. In large venues there are distractions. And praying by one's self, though necessary, is not always uplifting. I like to feel the presence of others as we lift up our prayers together.

    ReplyDelete
  6. An important point that you make here is that we only fear the things that take us away from God, not God Himself. That we love more deeply, give more freely, resist angering thoughts, step up to be helpful to our neighbors, be loyal and true friends and above all, have faith in God that he will be with us always. You are my guide in faith Father. I can only imagine how many lives you have touched as you have touched mine.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I am always pleased when I hear people actively participating in the Liturgy. It is so uplifting to know that many voices can pray together for a common good. Beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The human heart carries hurt throughout life. We are all scarred, burdened and broken in different ways. We may not be able to escape the losses that life brings, but we can control whether our souls are tied in angry, gnarled knots. We cannot control the world, but we can be the captain of our own ship. Here you give us all the tools to take control and steady ourselves in the storm. We just have to take advantage of the opportunity and peace in our world will come. Then we can spread it to the next person and the next person and so on and so forth. Control the hate and spread the love.

    ReplyDelete
  9. We each have a little piece of the world - postage stamp sized -in which to cultivate peace and non-hate. Sometimes the decisions that need to be made in order to preserve and extend that require awesome, even terrible choices. We really have to know ourselves.

    ReplyDelete