In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Sprit, Amen. Christ is in our midst! He is and shall be!

I know it’s been a few weeks since our last look at the Liturgy together, but I’d like to continue and finish the Great Litany this evening. We have the final two petitions, and prayer of the priest, and the exclamation remaining. The final two petitions of the Great Litany we hear at virtually every litany of the Church.

“Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and keep us, O God, by Thy grace.” Here we admit to God our absolute reliance on Him, and in our humility and in acknowledging our weaknesses we pray to Him. We need His help in every moment, at every hour, in every situation. We need His grace for our salvation, and the phrase “save us” is something that we repeat constantly in our prayers. The Scripture says that we’re to knock at the door, and the verb there means that we knock and we keep knocking. So we continually pray for our salvation. Asking God’s mercy is another things we do all the time – that He deal with us not as a just judge, because that would demand our condemnation – we pray rather for mercy, for unmerited favor before the sight of God. We end the petition asking that God keep us, that He preserve us, which obviously could indicate physical preservation, but even more that we be protected from the snares of the evil one and preserved for Christ.

This is a great place to note that during the services, we never pray for something that God doesn’t already want. We never pray from our own will or from our own passions, the Church never leads us to pray about something we simply want. We pray for those things that we already God wants to do for us – the primary focus of our prayer is that we accept those things God wants to give, whether they be on the side of suffering in some way or of being exalted in some way. Our daily prayers are structure in the same way – the prayers of the Church teach us also how to pray.

“Remembering our all-holy, immaculate, most blessed, and glorious Lady, Theotokos and Ever-virgin Mary with all the Saints, let us commend ourselves and each other, and all our life, unto Christ our God.” As we end this litany, and all of our litanies, we lean on the Saints. Before God we remember the lives of the Saints, and especially their prayers for us at the throne of God. We remember all the Saints, and then we commend ourselves to God – as they gave themselves entirely to God and were deified by Him, so also we give ourselves entirely over to God. He’s all we have and all we need, and we acknowledge that once again.

At this point in the Litany, we are used to hearing the priest give the exclamation. What you might not know is that the exclamation is actually the final line of a prayer that the priest prays during the Litany. So I’d like us to hear that prayer, since most people usually do not hear it. “O Lord our God, whose might is incomparable, who glory is incomprehensible, whose mercy is infinite, and whose love of man is ineffable, do thou thyself, O Master, in thy tenderheartedness look down upon us and upon this holy house, and grant us and those who pray with us thy rich mercies and compassion.” In this prayer, as you heard, the priest offers praise and thanksgiving to God, glorifying God for Who He is. Our God is mighty, glorified, merciful, love. And we ask him to down on us, and very simply, to grant us His mercy.

We then end the Great Litany with the exclamation – “For to thee belong all glory, honor, and worship, to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages, Amen.” We give glory and honor and worship to our one God in three Persons – and this will be the theme of the entire Liturgy, and according to the Scriptures this is how we’re to live the whole of our lives before God.

Glory to Jesus Christ! Glory forever!

Author Matthew Jackson

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