Saturday, September 14, 2013

Holy God

Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us!
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us!
Holy God, Holy Mighty, Holy Immortal, have mercy on us!
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
now and ever and unto the ages of ages.

We sometimes hear people criticizing the prayers that have been handed over to us from our holy and pious ancestors, from the holy tradition of the Church, as vain repetitions, as mechanical, as praying by rote and therefore meaningless, prayers only and not praying to the Father, and therefore worthless.

But no, my brethren, far from it! If it weren’t for these holy patterns, no Christian spirit could ever be formed, but only formless and in the end undisciplined and lost to dissipation. When our human weaknesses would take hold of us and drive us away from God, simple prayers like these steady us.

The same is true of the ceremonials of prayer, in which we join together not only our thoughts and voices, but even our bodily movements in unison—bowing, prostrations, making the sign of the cross—choreograph us in our individuality and our unity, knitting us to God and to one another.

These are the treasures of the kingdom, these protocols of the Divine presence, and their observance brings us to the threshold of faith and freedom in the spirit, deliver us from vainglory, purify our imaginations, sanctify our bodies and minds and impress on us repeatedly the Divine image.

Glory to You, O Lord, glory to You, who say, ‘I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not one yod, not one dot, will by any means disappear from Torah until everything is accomplished’ (Matthew 5:18), and ‘Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age’ (Matthew 28:20).

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