Thursday, March 21, 2013

Praying Holy Week

I don't think I can make a convincing argument for attending Holy Week observances. There is no week more important in my piety, no time of the year that re-orients my life, work, and faith towards Christ than this week, and I wish everyone a blessed Holy Week.

But the proof of the value of these days lies solely in the experience of the services themselves, and the breadth of them. All I can do is invite you to take the time, be present for the Procession of Palms, hear the passion narrative read, wash feet and commune on Thursday, weep at the cross on Friday, keep the vigil with the newly baptized on Saturday, then celebrate the resurrection of Christ come Sunday morning.

As we begin these days, I offer this set of prayers, the intercessions from the fifth-centry Gelasian sacramentary. I am thankful to James K.A. Smith for drawing my attention to this prayer in his wonderful Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works (Cultural Liturgies)

A prayer for Holy Week

Let us all say, Lord, hear and have mercy. Father unbegotten, and Son of God Begotten not made, and Holy Spirit of God, the breath of the faithful, we pray, Kyrie eleison.

For the spotless church of the living God, constituted throughout the whole world, we entreat the riches of divine gifts, Kyrie eleison.

For holy priests and ministers of the Mighty God, and all people worshipping the true God, we pray Christ our Lord, Kyrie eleison.

In particular, for all teaching rightly the Word of Truth, the manifold Wisdom of the Word of God, we pray, Kyrie eleison.

For those who keep themselves chaste in mind and body for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven, and exert themselves in spiritual labors, we pray for plentifulness of spiritual gifts, Kyrie eleison.

For all religious rulers and their solders, who prize justice and right judgment, we implore the Power of the Lord, Kyrie eleison.

For agreeable weather and opportune rains and caressing vital winds and the prosperity of diverse times rightly ordered, Lord of the world, we pray, Kyrie eleison.

For those who for the first time into the name of 'Christian' are initiated, whom now desire for heavenly grace inflames, we pray for mercy to Almighty God, Kyrie eleison.

For those who are involved in the weakness of the infirmities of humanity, in envy of spiritual wickedness or various errors of the world, we implore the mercy of the Redeemer, Kyrie eleison.

For those who are of necessity traveling, or are oppressed by the powers of iniquity, or are vexed by hostile hardships, we pray the Lord the savior, Kyrie eleison.

For those deceived by heresy or superstition, we pray the Lord of Truth, Kyrie eleison.

For doers of good works, and those who assist in the necessary labors of brotherly and sisterly charity, we pray the Lord to have mercy, Kyrie eleison.

For all within this holy House of the Lord, that they may be turned to religious hearers and devout pray-ers, we pray the Lord of Glory, Kyrie eleison.

For the cleansing of our souls and bodies, and forgiveness of sins, we pray the merciful Lord, Kyrie eleison.

For refreshment of faithful souls, particularly of pastors and priests of the Holy Lord, who preside over this catholic church, we pray the Lord the spirit and judge of all flesh, Kyrie eleison.

Mortification of sins of the flesh and quickening of the life of faith, Grant, Lord, grant.

Holy fear and love of truth, Grant, Lord, grant.

A pleasant ordering of life and a creditable end, Grant, Lord, grant.

An angel of peace and holy consolation, Grant, Lord, grant.

Hear, Lord, the voice of your family who cry for preservation. Amen.

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