22 June 2013

Byzantine Reflections Part II

**had to delete the original post due to some technical issues now you can see the whole thing**

Continuing with the Litany of Peace...we pray

For peace from on high,
and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.

One of the constant themes of the Byzantine Liturgy is our sinful nature....It brings joy to my little face to see entire families going to confession before Divine Liturgy (In the Byzantine tradition, Baptism, Chrismation (Confirmation), and First Holy Eucharist are given at infancy)...In the last catechesis on the Byzantine Liturgy we talked about the true meaning of peace. 

The next thing we are praying for is for our salvation. It is not a gaurantee as is taught in some places. Salvation is first and foremost by the Grace of God, it is most certainly something that we do not earn on our own. Because of our love for God, we do good works, those works of course are a sign of our cooperation with the Grace that God has given us. 

As St Paul tells us, we need to work out our salvation with fear and trembling (cf Phil 2, 12-13)...we constantly beg for the Lord's mercy upon our souls, and we pray that we cooperate with the grace that God gives us to persevere in the Faith....as we all know Faith is extremely difficult to maintain especially with the examples that some Bishops and Priests provide...but that makes it ever more important to rely on God and His Grace to persevere even with the wolves in sheep's clothing. 

For peace in the whole world
for the well‐being of the holy Churches of God, and for the union of all,
let us pray to the Lord. 

As we know, the Church of God, the Catholic Church undergoes persecution in varieties of places, such as China, Vietnam, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and various other countries. We remember them in our prayers during Divine Liturgy. 

Since the great schism in 1054, we have lost union with the majority of the Eastern Half of the Church....we pray for unity with the Orthodox during every Divine Liturgy....I most certainly pray that this happen during my lifetime. As many of you know, I absolutely love the Russian form of Divine Liturgy. This is what eccumenism is all about, the reunion with churches. The Orthodox are a true church, they have valid apostolic succession, valid orders, valid sacraments...this cannot be said about the vast majority of sects. (We do not consider the Orthodox to be protestant)

The thing about unity is that it's not a superficial thing where people don't have disagreements, but unity comes from Christ...In our fallen nature, I hardly think it is possible for there to be zero disagreement on things. Logically therefore it must make sense that unity comes from a source outside of ourselves....(This is why there can be competing theologies and various opinions, and still unity in the Church)

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