Thoughts on the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom

This evening, for the second time in my life, I had the opportunity to take part in the liturgy proper to the Byzantine rite of the Church. Our rector officiated. A beautiful ritual!

The whole thing is here.

I enjoy this liturgy largely because of the abundance of gestures. I lost count of the number of bows made by Fr. Denis, the number of times we prayed for the same things, the number of times I made the sign of the cross, etc.

But one there knew he was taking part in something sacred. As the saying goes, how we pray reflects what we believe. Our gestures remind us of what we believe.

I also enjoy the numerous times the priest and ministers exit the sanctuary and process among the people. The action reminds one, says Fr. Denis, of the action of Christ who constantly through the sacrifice of the Mass comes and goes to and from heaven.

I enjoyed, too, the words spoken by the priest to each communicant: “The servant of God N . . ., partakes of the precious, most holy and most pure Body and Blood of our Lord, God and Savior Jesus Christ for the remission of his (her) sins and for life everlasting. Amen.”

What powerful words.

Finally, I enjoyed these, the words spoken by the people before communion:

O Lord, I believe and profess that You are truly Christ, the Son of the living God, Who came into the World to save sinners, of whom I am the first. Accept me as a partaker of your mystical supper, O Son of God, for I will not reveal Your mysteries to our enemies, nor will I give you a kiss as did Judas, but like the thief will I confess to You.

Remember me, O Lord, when You shall come into Your kingdom.

Remember me, O Master, when You shall come into Your kingdom.

Remember me, O Holy One, when You shall come into Your kingdom.

May the partaking of your holy mysteries, O Lord, be not for my judgment, or condemnation, but for the healing of soul and body.

O Lord, I also believe and profess that this, which I am about to receive, is truly Your most precious Body and Your life-giving Blood, which, I pray, make me worthy to receive for the remission of all my sins and for life everlasting. Amen

O God, be merciful to me a sinner.

God, cleanse my sins and have mercy on me.

O Lord forgive me for I have sinned without number.

So much to be said for this ritual. How fortunate we have the chance to take part in it here.

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