PRAYERS FOR THE CATECHUMENS

Monday, May 1, 2017

“…Let us, the faithful, pray for the catechumens, that the Lord will have mercy on them; / That He will teach (κατηχήσῃ, catechise) them the word of truth; / That He will reveal (ἀποκαλύψῃ) to them the gospel of righteousness; / That He will unite (ἑνώσῃ) them to His holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.” (Litany for Catechumens, Byzantine Divine Liturgy)

 

This set of petitions is often omitted in churches that do not have any “catechumens” (those preparing for baptism, оглашенные). Among other things, we are called to pray that incoming members of the Church receive 1. Catechism (that they properly be taught the word of truth), 2. Revelation (that their hearts and minds be opened to the gospel), and 3. Unity/union with the “holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.” (The word “one,” which seems to have all our attention today, is omitted in this text of our Divine Liturgy. Just a note.)

 

I think these prayers are also a healthy reminder to us “faithful,” who are not perfectly “catechised”; who do not have our hearts and minds sufficiently open to “revelation”; who do not at all times enjoy perfect “unity” with the Body of Christ. As it happens, our “catechisation,” “revelation,” and “unification” are ongoing, even after baptism, for various reasons. Again and again, we either slack off, or close ourselves off, or separate ourselves from union and communion with Christ. And we come back, again and again, even on a daily basis, renewing our commitment to a life and death in Christ, given to us in baptism. So my point is, I’m grateful to be reminded of my own baptism, in the Litany of the Catechumens.

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