THE LITANY OF PEACE

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Deacon: In peace let us pray to the Lord.
People/Choir: Lord, have mercy.
Deacon: For the peace from above and for the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.
People/Choir: Lord, have mercy.
Deacon: For the peace of the whole world, for the stability of the holy churches of God, and for the unity of all, let us pray to the Lord.
People/Choir: Lord, have mercy
...“
(Litany of Peace, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)

 

In this very first litany of Divine Liturgy, we are called to pray “in peace“ and “for peace,“ specifically the kind “from above.“ It is the kind we cannot muster up or negotiate on our own, just amidst ourselves. In fact we have never done very well, when it comes to “peace,“ either within or without “the holy churches of God.“ That is why we are called to give up self-reliance and self-centeredness, and “pray to the Lord.“ Not only for “us,“ the insiders, but for “the whole world“ and “for the unity of all,“ – all those with whom we, sinfully, are not in “unity.“ We neither justify ourselves nor blame anyone else for this state of affairs, but simply appeal to God’s mercy in the brief response, “Lord, have mercy.“

 

As I appeal to God for His “mercy“ at Divine Liturgy, let me indeed be open to it, that I may extend it to others, both within and without the praying community of my Church. “Blessed are the merciful,“ our Lord reminds me, “for they shall obtain mercy.“ (Mt 5: 7)

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