As we progress down the path of the Great Fast, even though only within this first week, let us bring to mind and to prayer the unity to which we are called within the Church. We know how many times during Divine Services we pray for our hierarchs, for our clergy, and for our faithful, and in so doing we (in words) call ourselves to this unity. But what does it mean to us 'practically'? Why is the 'chain' from bishop through presbyter and deacon to the faithful important to us?
Know that when you pray alone, in the silence of your home, or wherever you make space and time to pray, you do not "pray alone." What prayers do you utter? Do you ask the Lord for forgiveness? Know that the Church, in her prayers, through her bishops and priests, has also done this for you within this day. Do you ask for health? Know that the Church has already asked this for you as well. Do you ask for wisdom, or for those things that can benefit your salvation? Know that even these are within the prayers offered by the Church within this very day, also for you.
Know also, though, that those same prayers are offered for all the faithful! And so, you are not alone in your prayer, for it is 'mingled' with the prayers of the Church through her servants, the clergy. But you are also not alone for your own prayer is mingled with the prayers of all of the faithful, together, as in one voice.
Saint Ignatius of Antioch writes in his Epistle to the Ephesians about this with these words. "It is fitting that you should run together in accordance with the will of your bishop, which thing also you do. For your justly renowned presbytery, worthy of God, is fitted as exactly to the bishop as the strings are to the harp. Therefore in your concord and harmonious love, Jesus Christ is sung. And man by man, become a choir, that being harmonious in love, and taking up the song of God in unison, you may with one voice sing to the Father through Jesus Christ, so that He may both hear you, and perceive by your works that you are indeed the members of His Son. It is profitable, therefore, that you should live in an unblameable unity, that thus you may always enjoy communion with God."
The image of harp and choir are wonderful for us. It helps us to understand that our own 'individual' prayer is never that. Indeed, we are a part of something greater. It gives our prayer additional meaning. It encourages us to not be careless in offering that prayer, but to be diligent in keeping to a regimen encouraging our prayer, and to pray in earnest, not hurriedly, not inattentively, but with faith being moved to love. Even our 'silent prayer,' those times when we come before the Lord with no words to offer - only a heart needing to be connected to God, even those prayers are part of "the choir."
Welcome to Saint Herman's, Hudson, Ohio
This blog is a partial compilation of the messages, texts, readings, and prayers from our small community. We pray that it will be used by our own people, to their edification. And if you happen by and are inclined to read, give the glory to God!
The blog title, "Will He Find Faith on the Earth?" is from Luke 18:8, the "Parable of the Persistent Widow." It overlays the icon of the Last Judgment, an historical event detailed in Matthew Chapter 25, for which we wait as we pray in the Nicean Creed.
We serve the Holy Orthodox cycle of services in contemporary English. Under the omophorion of His Eminence Metropolitan Joseph of the Bulgarian Patriarchal Diocese of the USA, Canada and Australia, we worship at 5107 Darrow Road in Hudson, Ohio (44236). If you are in the area, please join us for worship!
Regular services include:
Sunday Divine Liturgy 10AM (Sept 1 - May 31)
930AM (June 1 - Aug 31)
Vespers each Saturday 6PM
We pray that you might join us for as many of these services as possible! We are open, and we welcome inside the Church all visitors. See our Parish web page: