Lenten Journey – Preparations

Day #2 of the Lenten Journey into the Divine Liturgy by Fr. Vazken Movsesian.

It has been said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Perhaps a more proper translation of this thought offered by Lao Tzu is that The journey of a thousand miles begins beneath one’s feet. No matter how we say it, the journey into the Divine Liturgy, and therefore into the Divine, begins with a step of the foot, but that foot must be ready – socks and shoes, muscles and even callouses, to travel the road ahead.
Preparation for the Divine Liturgy is essential. A soul who is present and ready for this Divine Mystery must prepare itself, as must the minister who will be celebrate the Liturgy. Both the priest and the participant enter to the sanctuary putting off their worldly garments and understand that there is a sacredness to the space they enter. The physical structure of the church is most often the place where this sacrament is celebrated. It has been consecrated, that is, it has been set aside for the purpose of this sacred work, just as the priest, the minister of the sacrament, is consecrated and ordained for this celebration. He is man, not God. He stands humbly before the presence of God. As you can imagine, there can be no ego present at this moment, and so begins the stripping of the trappings of the world.
Because the Divine Liturgy is such an awesome and sacred ceremony, the participant goes through a series of physical, spiritual and emotional preparatory activities. Let us begin with the physical preparation, because by far, it is the easiest to comprehend.
In the vestry of the church the priest engages in a transformative process. The Divine Liturgy begins with the reciting of Psalm 132, “Let your priests be clothed with righteousness; and let your saints shout for joy.” As we hear, the first utterances are in the spirit of a festival – shouting for joy! In fact, the Divine Liturgy is a celebration. In that spirit, the Priest offers his first prayer of the day before transforming himself with the physical robes and vestments of the day. As we listen to it, place yourself in that spirit of joy and understanding. It is the First Step of our journey:
O Jesus Christ our Lord who are clothed with light as with a garment, you did appear upon earth in unspeakable humility and walked with men and women.
[As you grant me permission to be vested for this service] make me, your unprofitable servant, also worthy at this hour to approach the spiritual service of your glory, so that I may divest myself of all ungodliness which is a garment of defilement, and that I may be adorned with your light. Cast away my wickedness from me and shake me out of my transgressions that I may be made worthy of the light prepared by you in the world to come.
 Grant me to enter with priestly glory upon the ministry of your holy things. Christ, you did bear the sins of all, for you are the holiness of our souls and upon you, befits glory, dominion and honor.

In saying this prayer, we take the first step of preparation. We will continue tomorrow by introducing the vestments that prepare us physically to celebrate with joy, the Divine Liturgy.


Today: Preparations – taking the first step before vesting.
Lenten Recipe 2: Mushroom Fried Rice

Produced by Suzie Shatarevyan for epostle.net
Background Lent Song: Here I Am to Worship played by Heidi 

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