As the central expression of our Faith, the liturgical life of the Church is also the wellspring of the spiritual life for the Byzantine Catholic faithful. In addition to the Divine Liturgy, Vespers, Compline, Matins and the other Hours sanctify each day. These services are composed largely of biblical Psalms and Canticles interspersed with hymns composed by the great hymnographers of the 7th -11th centuries. Devotions to the Theotokos include the richly poetic Akathist Hymn, connected especially with the Great Fast, and the Paraklesis (or Office of Consolation), which is prayed in times of distress and during the Dormition Fast (August 1-14). Prayer services called molebens may be prayed for specific needs or in honor of the Theotokos or one of the saints.
Byzantine spirituality has always had a “popular” appeal. It has always been our tradition to translate our liturgical services into the language of the people. The vivid imagery you’ll encounter in our prayers and spiritual writings are often taken directly from the experience of the common man. It is very relatable, and so has a very broad appeal.
“God became man so that man might become god.” This is the vocation of every human person – to enter so closely into relationship with God that we are transfigured to our very core. We encounter the Divine most intimately in Holy Communion. By receiving Christ in the Eucharist, we allow Him to transform us, and we carry him out into the world.
The Jesus Prayer
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” It’s a short, but powerful prayer. For Byzantine Catholics, the Jesus Prayer is a method to fulfill St. Paul’s command to “pray without ceasing.” By learning to pray this prayer continually, we become gradually attuned to God’s presence in us.
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