Monday with Merton


 

The power of the Easter Vigil liturgy in part stems from the fact that so many vestiges of primitive nature rites are included and sanctified in it. Mystery of fire and mystery of water. Mystery of spring: Ver sacrum. Fire, water and spring made sacred and meaningful theologically by the Resurrection of Christ, the new creation. Instead of stamping down the force of new life in us (and turning it into a dragon), let it be sweetened, sanctified and exalted, a figure of the life of the Spirit which is made present in our heart’s love by the Resurrection. One unquestionable improvement in the liturgy of Holy Week is the recovery of the more ancient tone for the singing of the Passion. It is splendidly austere and noble. Tremendously moving, like great tolling Flemish bells stirring whole populations in medieval cities, or like the stone sides of the Cistercian churches of the twelfth century which echoed to those tones. The chant was a mighty and living presence, binding us together in mystery. A great eloquence and sobriety that has almost been lost from the world but has been recovered. This eloquence, though, is stubborn, it is in man, it will not go. Christ preserves it, as He preserves us, from our own vulgarity.  

Thomas Merton, Journals

Prayer of St. Polycarp


image

O Lord God Almighty, Father of your blessed and beloved Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have been given knowledge of yourself; you are the God of angels and powers, of the whole creation, and of all generations of the righteous who live in your sight. I bless you for granting me this day and hour, that I may be numbered among the martyrs, to share in the cup of your Anointed and to rise again to everlasting life, both in body and in soul, in the immortality of the Holy Spirit. May I be received among them this day in your presence, a sacrifice rich and acceptable, even as you appoint and foreshadow, and now bring to pass, for you are the God of truth in whom there is no falsehood. For this, and for all else, I praise you, I bless you, I glorify you; through our eternal High Priest in heaven, your beloved Son Jesus Christ, by whom and through whom be glory to you and the Holy Spirit, now and for all ages to come. Amen.

A Prayer from Pope St. Clement I


image

In The Name Of The Whole Christian People.

We beg you, Master,
be our help and strength.
Save those among us who are oppressed,
have pity on the lowly,
and lift up the fallen.
Heal the sick,
bring back the straying,
and feed the hungry.
Release those in prison,
steady those who falter,
and strengthen the fainthearted.
Let all nations come to know you, the one God,
with your Son Jesus Christ,
and us your people and sheep of your pasture.
Do not keep count of the sins of your servants,
but purify us through the bath of your truth
and direct our steps.
Help us to walk in holiness of heart,
and to do what is good and pleasing in your eyes
and in the eyes of our rulers.
Master, let your face shine on us
to grant us every good in peace,
protect us by your powerful hand,
deliver us from every evil by the might of your arm.
Grant us and all who dwell on this earth
peace and harmony, O Lord.

This is the second in the series I’m doing during this Easter season consisting in prayers from the Early Church.

Copyright © Catholic Doors Ministry

 

 

A Prayer of St Augustine


imageO Lord,

the house of my soul is narrow;

enlarge it that you may enter in.

It is ruinous, O repair it!

It displeases your sight.

I confess it, I know.

But who shall cleanse it,

to whom shall I cry but to you?

Cleanse me from my secret faults, O Lord,

and spare your servant from strange sins.

 

This is the first of a weekly series which amounts to my sharing early Christian prayers each Monday during this Easter season. I hope you enjoy.