Tag Archives: Byzantine Liturgy

Beauty in our life through ritual

The life we lead is informed by the gestures and intentions we do and have. I ask myself what judgment –that is, what is the meaning– of how and why I do things, and how the things I say and do have an impact on my own soul and that of others. The perspective of the author is the Byzantine Liturgy but if one looks a little deeper into the Latin similar gestures are present but often neglected. Catholicism, East and West, is an embodied faith. Consider what the Lord did with the 12, with the 72, and how He engaged and loved them. What was seen with Jesus is now passed into the Church. But sometimes we have neglected the body ethic to our detriment. It does not have to be THAT way. We can attend to how we use our bodies to worship the Lord, to pray, to contemplate holy things, and to act as witnesses to the Good News revealed to us.

“How do we make our life a work of art? One of the important benefits of liturgical prayer and the rituals that accompany it is that it teaches us how to meet each moment with our best intention, and to approach our daily life as an arena of spiritual practice. By focusing on the quality of our presence at Divine Liturgy, for example, by consciously entering into the ritual movements that accompany the prayer — the sign of the cross, the reverence, the kissing of the icon — our presence during this time becomes choreographed. There is nothing artificial in this, but rather it is a means of creating beauty. Our body is responding to the mystery that is before us, and this in turn conditions us to pay attention to our movements outside liturgy, in the various rhythms of daily life. If we are conscious and mindful of God’s presence throughout the day, life can increasingly become a work of art, one that honors the dignity of our humanity.” (NS)

Priest feeds baby at baptism

An Orthodox priest was captured by a professional photographer as he was feeding a baby girl while proclaiming the Gospel at the child’s baptism service at the Ascension of the Lord Church in Podu Olt, Brasov County, Romania.

Good Church Music Starts with Kids

Music is essential to life. Sacred music –that which is lived and performed in the Liturgy– is crucial important and integral to the worship of God. Yes, we live the text and the notes.

I love music. I love listening to music. I love sharing the experience of listening to music with others. I love purchasing, supporting musicians, and the like. I don’t sing even though I probably have one note (like everybody else).

The “normal” parish does not spend enough time thinking about the sacred music program never mind spending money on it. Even a financially strapped parish could put $50.00 per week away for sacred music. More important to money is the understanding of pastor and laity have regarding the music and give personal, informed and reasonable interest to it and the people involved. The worship of God is paramount; the lifting of our soul is desired and beautiful and healing.

I stumbled upon Benedict Sheehan’s blog post “Good Church Music Starts with Kids” and I think he’s spot-on and parishes, especially Catholic parishes, need to attend to what he Benedict proposes.

Benedict Sheehan regularly posts at The Music Stand –visit him there.

Byzantine Prayers for Persecuted Christians

This coming week is dedicated to the welfare, physical and spiritual, of our sisters and brothers who are persecuted for their faith. Here are the texts for the Litanies to be used during the Divine Liturgy.

Byzantine Litanies for Persecuted Christians

O Lord, hear our supplicating voices for the servants of God, those who are suffering persecution for our Christian faith, that the Holy Spirit may strengthen them with the courage to persevere in faith, hope and charity and for the grace to forgive their unjust persecutors, we pray you hear and have mercy. (Lord have mercy 3x)

Again and again we cry aloud for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are fleeing persecution at the hands of both the unjust heathen and the godless unbelievers throughout the world, that they may find safe haven and protection and that they rebuild their lives in safety and dignity, we pray you hear and have mercy. (Lord have mercy 3x)

We pray, O Lord, for those who provide charitable assistance to Christians fleeing persecution and violence that they may be blessed in their generosity and may continue to see the face of Christ in those who suffer and are in need, we pray you hear and have mercy. (Lord have mercy 3x)

We pray, O Lord, for all those in our Armed Forces who seek to thwart the evildoers in their plans and to protect the innocent. Look down with mercy and compassion upon every soldier who is facing a daily struggle with war, aggression and terrorism. Protect them by your Right Hand and preserve them and watch over them at every given hour. Guide their steps, give wisdom and discernment to all who are in leadership, that your holy will may prevail, and that they may return safely to their homes and loved ones. We pray you hear and have mercy. (Lord have mercy 3x)

We also pray for the unjust heathen and godless unbelievers who persecute Christians and other religious minorities throughout the world, that the light and truth of Jesus Christ and His Gospel of mercy may penetrate the hardness of their hearts so that they might come to believe in the true path of righteousness and peace, we pray you hear and have mercy. (Lord have mercy 3x)

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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