Category Archives: Eastern Churches

Discussion: is Jesus a “Saint”?

When I ask questions like this, I usually get responses that are sarcastic, condescending, etc., assuming I’m being rhetorical or sarcastic or that I’m expressing ignorance about basic catechesis.

I’m asking philosophically.

What is a “Saint”?

I was thinking of this in terms of patronage: there are some particular causes for which Jesus (or His Holy Face, Wounds, Sacred Heart, manifestation as an Infant, etc.) is listed as “patron,” which doesn’t make sense to me. Then there’s what we say about Litanies embodying the difference between Jesus and Saints: “have mercy on us” or “hear our prayer” versus “pray for us.” Yet there are traditional devotions, particularly in the East, which address Our Lady by asking her to “Hear us” or “save us”, and we know there are some “prayers” in which saints can directly assist us without having to technically “pray to God for us.”

Then there’s the title of “Saint” itself: the angels, for example, are “saints” in that “saint” means “holy one,” a citizen of Heaven. We usually use “saint” to distinguish humans in Heaven from Angels. Yet Jesus is eternally the God-Man.
So, while it would obviously be redundant to call Him such, I wonder if, in a theological sense, Jesus could be counted as a “Saint”?

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Pray for Peace in the Ukraine and in the World


If you’re reading this, and you’re not doing something that absolutely prevents it (which you likely aren’t if you’re reading Facebook or blogs; if so, do it when you’re free), drop everything else and take 15 minutes, at least, to pray together for the Ukraine. Preferably say the Rosary, or the Jesus Rosary, and/or the following Psalms (first number is Septuagint/Second is the Masoretic/common English numbering): 29/30, 111/112, 131/132, 132/133, 140/141, 143/144

Our Lady of Guadalupe, to whom the winning fleet at Lepanto was dedicated.

“Mary, Did You Know?”

Mary, did you know that some blasphemous jerk would write a song about you?
Mary, did you know that thousands of ‘Christians’ would curse, deride and doubt you?
Mary did you know that people who claim to follow the Bible literally would completely dismiss the verses about you?

The song asks:
“Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new?
This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.”
Yes, she did know, but He had already delivered her and made her new at the moment of her conception.
Luke 1:28 (how can anyone be “full of grace” who is in sin?); Luke 1:42 (“my spirit rejoices in God my savior”–how can He be her “savior” if she is not already “saved”?); and Luke 1:42 (“blessed are you among women”) tell us this. The sinlessness of the Virgin is recognized in the Orthodox tradition and even in Islam, yet denied by a relatively small group (Protestants) who have co-opted the name “Christian” from Catholics and Orthodox in the past 500 years, such that we now have to prove to them that we are “really” Christians. The only dispute between Catholic and Orthodox theology is the point at which her sin was removed: her immaculate conception having been dogmatically defined by Bl. Pope Pius IX, quoting the arguments of Bl. John Duns Scotus, OFM.
Yes, it was a retroactive action of the salvific grace of the Passion, in a Mystery, just as she is “daughter of her own son,” but I think we can be pretty sure that the intent of an Evangelical song-writer is not to build faith in the Immaculate Conception.

Again, the song asks, “Mary, did you know . . . when your kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God. . . .
Mary did you know that your baby boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you’re holding is the great [inappropriate use of the English translation of the Tetragrammaton, resulting in the singer’s inadvertent proclamation of himself as God]”
Again, it’s in the Bible:
Luke 1:32 (“He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High”);
Luke 1:43 (“the mother of my LORD,” or “KYRIOS” in Greek, “ADONAI,” in Hebrew, which, of course, means God);
As for the collective question of what Mary “knew,” and if she knew all the great works Jesus would do, just read the Magnificat. Being free from original sin, Mary’s mind was not clouded from understanding the Scriptures the way the rest of our minds are. That is why she accepted Gabriel’s message so readily, knowing that being an unwed mother would put her at risk of stoning, making an act of faith that echoed Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac (Gen 22:1-19).

Luke 1:45 (“blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled”) and 11:28 (Jesus echoes Elizabeth’s words and says that Mary is blessed because she heard the word of God and observed it), Luke 1:48 (“all generations shall call me blessed”), Luke 2:19 and 51 (“Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart”), Luke 2:34 (“and you yourself a sword shall pierce”), John 19:26-27 (Mary is our mother, too, and a beloved disciple takes Mary into his home).

Protestants take the few verses that vary on Luke 11:28 and Mk 3:34-35 as indicating that somehow Mary did *not* “hear the word of God and keep it,” yet that is clearly confirmed by the aforementioned verses in Luke 1 & 2. She *did* hear the word of God and keep it in her heart.

Many fundamentalists have tried to argue that the Mother of Jesus somehow strayed away from Him. I have been told that Mary was indeed a great sinner. Yet we see her standing by her Son at the Cross–not even off in the crowd, but near the Cross.

So, yes, Mark Lowry, Mary *did* know. This seemingly pious lyric is really an insult to the Theotokos, a contradiction of the Holy Bible, and a denial of the truth of the Immaculate Conception.

It’s bad enough to hear it on the radio, at the mall, etc., but, what’s worse, this song gets “performed” at many Catholic parishes, even at Mass, and people are offended when anyone points out that it is heretical.

Based upon a post I wrote in 2008.

Thoughts on Liturgy and “Labels”

Extended from a Facebook post:
I guess I’m what some people would call a “neo-traditionalist,” which basically means, when it comes to liturgy, nobody likes me. My preferred liturgy in the Roman Rite is the “Novus Ordo”/”Ordinary Form” practiced “correctly,” with the options that are more in keeping with Roman and/or Eastern tradition rather than complete novelties, though ultimately I feel most “at home” in the Byzantine Rite. I respect the “Extraordinary Form” in all its “forms” (High/Low/Low with hymns) and would attend it if available, but I don’t think it’s obligatory, and if I had my choice between the two, I would go with the Paul VI Mass over the Tridentine.
as a “movement,” theologically, I have serious problems with the “Charismatic Renewal,” though, as individuals, some of the finest Catholics I’ve known have been “Charismatics” (though, also, some of the most evil Catholics have been Charismatics, as well). Similarly and conversely, I theologically agree with “Traditionalism” but find that “Traditionalists” as individuals tend to the same two extremes. In that vein, I don’t see why “ordinary Catholics” tend to identify all traditionalists with the bad apples but take offense at associating the Charismatic Renewal with its “bad apples” (e.g., the ones who say things like, “You’re sick because you don’t have Faith.”)
I can’t stand “folk” or “contemporary” Masses in general, especially since they almost always involve some sort of abuse, but unless the abuse directly relates to the Consecration or renders the priest heretical, I’ll attend them if I have to. Distractions just force me to do a better job recollecting myself.
I understand the differences between “liturgical,” “artistic” and “personal taste,” and try to handle these discussions accordingly. The fact that I consider something “inappropriate for liturgy” doesn’t *necessarily* mean I don’t “like” it; on the other hand, like many, the more I’ve read on liturgy, the more I’ve come to dislike a lot of songs. My two favorite hymns are “Now We Remain” and “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring” (not “our”; “horizontal inclusive language” is OK, but in some areas we should just leave things the way they were written). I don’t see what’s wrong with including “On Eagle’s Wings” or “I Am the Bread of Life” in the Liturgy so long as they’re balanced with chant and “old fashioned” hymns and appropriate to both the tone and theme of the particular liturgy. However, I can’t stand “One Bread, One Body” and others that twist Scripture to promote an agenda. There are other folk/contemporary “hymns” that I don’t think are appropriate for liturgy but I don’t mind in a concert or recorded context. I’m in the “‘Amazing Grace’ seems too Protestant for Mass” camp, but I’m OK with other “traditional” Protestant hymns that don’t touch specifically on areas of theological contention. The recent tendency of “youth masses” to include “contemporary Christian” “praise and worship” music of the “all you have to do is change ‘Jesus’ to ‘baby'” variety is very disturbing.
I recognize the Vatican II call for “organic” development of liturgy, and insist from those who would change the liturgy that the changes, minimally, conform to that standard.
Melodically, as the preface to the original _Grail Psalter_ says, sacred music should emphasize the words, in keeping with the principle that “He who sings prays twice.” The role of liturgical music is to be catechetical. That is no more recognized than by the likes of Marty Haugen, the liberal Lutheran who has used the popularity of his music to push his agenda on the Catholic Church. If something has to be “explained,” it’s not appropriate for Mass. If something qualifies as a “performance,” it’s probably not appropriate for Mass (and that applies on both extremes). Both Cardinal Ratzinger and Cardinal Arinze have said that “If there is applause at Mass, something has gone terribly wrong.” On the other hand, one of the purposes of liturgical music is to provide time for meditation, and there should be points of non-congregational singing to allow for that.
I appreciate the position that we must give our best efforts to God (the “I wish Francis were more like Benedict; a Pope should reflect his office” side of me), but I also appreciate the position that we should reach out to the “common folk” to get them into Church to begin with (the side of me that thinks Francis is on the right track). Yet again, we must be careful that we’re not “bringing people in” under false pretenses, and there should be a timelessness to the Liturgy, which is by definition Timeless, that is not held up by constantly changing to suit the latest “fashions” (which are often themselves several years behind).

Hermeneutic of Papal Discontinuity: Pope Francis is a RadTrad

Since the election of Pope Francis, the media have gone out of their way to paint him as a “liberal” due to his more simplistic style and emphasis on concern for the poor. I’ve complained previously about this false division in terms of the implication that Bl. (soon to be Saint) John Paul II and Benedict XVI have not been as humble or simple as Francis, particularly since B16 resumed some of the more traditional papal vestments that have been discarded by most 20th Century Popes. Because of this slight difference in style, both those of a more “traditionalist” bent and the mainstream media have insisted that Francis is a “progressive.” Pat Archbold responded to this with “10 Quotes that Prove the Pope is a Liberal,” giving quotations from Benedict, and Mark Shea followed suit this weekend with a post giving quotations from Francis on liturgy (more on this later)

Meanwhile, there has been something of a row in the blogosphere about terminology regarding “RadTrads” or, as someone recently suggested, “MadTrads.” Since Vatican II, one of the main “sticking points” has been the Council’s approach to ecumenism. Supposedly, anyone who critiques that approach is a “RadTrad.” In one of his last major statements before announcing his retirement, a reflection on Vatican II, Benedict explicitly criticized the very weakness of _Nostra Aetate_ that most of us would be labelled “RadTrads” for pointing out:

In the process of active reception, a weakness of this otherwise extraordinary text has gradually emerged: it speaks of religion solely in a positive way and it disregards the sick and distorted forms of religion which, from the historical and theological viewpoints, are of far-reaching importance; for this reason the Christian faith, from the outset, adopted a critical stance towards religion, both internally and externally.

But that’s the “traditionalist” B16, right?
On the contrary, Pope Francis has made several statements about the necessity of the Church for salvation, saying that one cannot know Jesus without the Church, and that one cannot know God without Jesus. Go figure: the Pope is Catholic.
Nevertheless, people want to pick on every media-spun statement to try to say otherwise. I don’t think it’s even necessary to “Read Francis Through Benedict,” as “Fr. Z.” has renamed his popular blog: I’d suggest that, the more we get to hear from Francis himself, the more we’ll find him to be perhaps more “traditionalist” than Benedict. There are concerns about the current Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Gerhard Muller, and his relationship with Liberation Theology, but he was a B16 appointee. There were rumors that Francis might be making changes to the Congregation for Divine Worship and to the position of Master of Ceremonies, but one of the quotations Mark Shea highlights in the post I linked above ought to allay those fears:

“See? They say that my Master of papal ceremonies [Guido Marini] is of a Traditionalist mold; and many… have asked me to remove him from his position and replace him. I have answered no, precisely because I myself may treasure his traditional formation.”

More importantly, in terms of ecumenism in the truest sense, and liturgy alike, the following quotation, variations of which I’ve read elsewhere, highlights what I think proves Francis is both a true “Radical” (getting back to the root) Traditionalist *and* in line with the authentic intent of Vatican II (which was to bring back to the Western Liturgy some of the qualities it has lost):

In the Orthodox Churches they have conserved that pristine liturgy, no? So beautiful. We [i.e., the Latin Christians] have lost a bit the sense of adoration, they conserve it, they praise God, they adore God, they sing, time does not count. The center is God and that is a richness that I would like to emphasize on this occasion as you ask me this question.

Once, speaking of the Western Church, of Western Europe, especially the Church that has grown most, they said this phrase to me: “Lux ex oriente, ex occidente luxus.” [“Light from the East, from the West, luxury.”] Consumerism, well-being, have done us so much harm. Instead you keep this beauty of God at the center, the reverence. When one reads Dostoyevsky — I believe that for us all he must be an author to read and reread, because he has wisdom – one perceives what the Russian spirit is, the Eastern spirit. It’s something that will do us so much good. We are in need of this renewal, of this fresh air of the East, of this light from the East. John Paul II wrote it in his Letter. But so many times the luxus of the West makes us lose the horizon. I don’t know, it came to me to say this. Thank you.”

Coptic Hours (Modified) Midnight Watch 3

Agpeya Midnight
INTRODUCTION TO EVERY HOUR
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Kyrie eleison. Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord bless us. Amen. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto the ages of all ages. Amen.
THE LORD’S PRAYER Make us worthy to pray thankfully: Our Father Who art in heaven; . . . but deliver us from evil, in Christ Jesus our Lord. For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever. Amen.
THE PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
Let us give thanks to the beneficent and merciful God, the Father of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, for He has covered us, helped us, guarded us, accepted us unto Him, spared us, supported us, and brought us to this hour. Let us also ask Him, the Lord our God, the Almighty, to guard us in all peace this holy day and all the days of our life.
O Master, Lord, God the Almighty, the Father of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, we thank You for every condition, concerning every condition, and in every condition, for You have covered us, helped us, guarded us, accepted us unto You, spared us, supported us, and brought us to this hour. Therefore, we ask and entreat Your goodness, O Lover of mankind, to grant us to complete this holy day, and all the days of our life, in all peace with Your fear. All envy, all temptation, all the work of Satan, the counsel of wicked men, and the rising up of enemies, hidden and manifest, take them away from us, and from all Your people, and from this holy place that is Yours. But those things which are good and profitable do provide for us; for it is You Who have given us the authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, by the grace, compassion and love of mankind, of Your Only-Begotten Son, our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, through Whom the glory, the honor, the dominion, and the adoration are due unto You, with Him, and the Holy Spirit, the Life-Giver, Who is of one essence with You, now and at all times, and unto the ages of all ages. Amen.
PSALM 50
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your merciful love; according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions. Wash me completely from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. My transgressions, truly I know them; my sin is always before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned; what is evil in your sight I have done. So you are just in your sentence, without reproach in your judgment. O see, in guilt I was born, a sinner when my mother conceived me. Yes, you delight in sincerity of heart; in secret you teach me wisdom. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be pure; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear rejoicing and gladness, that the bones you have crushed may exult. Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my guilt. Create a pure heart for me, O God; renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence; take not your holy spirit from me. Restore in me the joy of your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit. I will teach transgressors your ways, that sinners may return to you. Rescue me from bloodshed, O God, God of my salvation, and then my tongue shall ring out your justice. O LORD, open my lips and my mouth shall proclaim your praise. For in sacrifice you take no delight; burnt offering from me would not please you. My sacrifice to God, a broken spirit: a broken and humbled heart, O God, you will not spurn. In your good
pleasure, show favor to Sion; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will delight in right sacrifice, burnt offerings wholly consumed. Then you will be offered young bulls on your altar. ALLELUIA.
Then the worshipper says :
Arise, you, O children of the light, to praise the Lord of Hosts, that He may grant us the salvation of our souls. When we stand in the flesh before You, take away from our minds the sleep of forgetfulness, and grant us alertness, in order that we understand how to stand up before You at the time of prayer, and send up to You the appropriate doxology, and win the forgiveness of our many sins. Glory to You, the Lover of mankind.
PSALM 134 O come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the courts of the house of the LORD. Lift up your hands to the holy place, and bless the LORD. May the LORD bless you from Sion, he who made both heaven and earth. ALLELUIA. Glory to You, the Lover of mankind.
Let my supplication come near before You; give me understanding according to Your word. Let my petition come before You; revive me according to Your word. Let my lips flow with praise, when You have taught me Your ordinances. Let my tongue speak of Your words; for all Your commandments are righteous. Let Your hand be for saving me; for I have desired Your commandments. I have longed for Your salvation, O Lord; and Your law is my meditation. My soul shall live, and praise You; and Your judgments shall help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant; for I have not forgotten Your commandments.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto the ages of all ages. Amen. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto the ages of all ages, Amen.
Glory to You O the good and lover of mankind. Hail to Your mother the Virgin and to all Your Saints. Glory to You, O Holy Trinity; have mercy upon us. Let God arise, and let His enemies be dispersed; and let all who hate His holy name flee before His face. But let Your people be in blessing, thousands of thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousands, doing Your will. O Lord, You shall open my lips; and my mouth shall declare Your praise. Amen. ALLELUIA.
The Third Watch
The worshipper says:
The service of the third watch of the blessed Midnight Hour, we offer unto Christ our King and our God, beseeching Him to forgive us our sins.
From the Psalms of our father David the prophet and the king, may his blessings be upon us all. Amen.
PSALM 130 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; LORD, hear my voice! O let your ears be attentive to the sound of my pleadings. If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, LORD, who could stand? But with you is found forgiveness, that you may be revered. I long for you, O LORD, my soul longs for his word. My soul hopes in the LORD more than watchmen for daybreak. More than watchmen for daybreak, let Israel hope for the LORD. For with the LORD there is mercy, in him is plentiful redemption. It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities. ALLELUIA.
PSALM 131 O LORD, my heart is not proud, nor haughty my eyes. I have not gone after things too great, nor marvels beyond me. Truly, I have set my soul in tranquility and silence. As a weaned child on its mother, as a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, wait for the LORD, both now and forever. ALLELUIA.
PSALM 132 O LORD, remember David and all the hardships he endured, the oath he swore to the LORD, his vow to the Strong One of Jacob. “I will not enter my house, nor go to the bed where I rest; I will give no sleep to my eyes, to my eyelids I will give no slumber, till I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling for the Strong One of Jacob.”At Ephrata we heard of it; we found it in the plains of Yearim. “Let us go to the place of his dwelling; let us bow down at his footstool. Go up, LORD, to the place of your rest, you and the ark of your strength. Your priests shall be clothed with justice; your faithful shall ring out their joy. For the sake of David your servant, do not reject your anointed. The LORD swore an oath to David; he will not go back on his word: “A son, the fruit of your body, will I set upon your throne. If your sons hold fast to my covenant, and my laws that I have taught them, their sons, in turn, shall sit on your throne from age to age.” For the LORD has chosen Sion; he has desired it for his dwelling: “This is my resting place from age to age; here have I chosen to dwell. I will greatly bless her produce; I will fill her poor with bread. I will clothe her priests with salvation, and her faithful shall ring out their joy. I will make a stock sprout up for David; I will prepare a lamp for my anointed. I will cover his enemies with shame, but on him my crown shall shine.” ALLELUIA.
PSALM 133 How good and how pleasant it is, when brothers live in unity! It is like precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard, running down upon Aaron’s beard, upon the collar of his robes; Like the dew of Hermon, which runs down on the mountains of Sion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing: life forever. ALLELUIA.
PSALM 134 O come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the courts of the house of the LORD. Lift up your hands to the holy place, and bless the LORD. May the LORD bless you from Sion, he who made both heaven and earth.
PSALM 137 By the rivers of Babylon there we sat and wept, remembering Sion; on the poplars that grew there we hung up our harps. For it was there that they asked us, our captors, for songs, our oppressors, for joy. “Sing to us,” they said, “one of Sion’s songs.” O how could we sing the song of the LORD on foreign soil? If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand wither! O let my tongue cleave to my palate if I remember you not, if I prize not Jerusalem as the first of my joys! Remember, O LORD, against the children of Edom the day of
Jerusalem, when they said, “Tear it down! Tear it down to its foundations!” O daughter Babylon, destroyer, blessed whoever repays you the payment you paid to us! Blessed whoever grasps and shatters your children on the rock! ALLELUIA.
PSALM 138 I thank you, LORD, with all my heart; you have heard the words of my mouth. In the presence of the angels I praise you. I bow down toward your holy temple. I give thanks to your name for your merciful love and your faithfulness. You have exalted your name over all. On the day I called, you answered me; you increased the strength of my soul. All earth’s kings shall thank you, O LORD, when they hear the words of your mouth. They shall sing of the ways of the LORD, “How great is the glory of the LORD!” The LORD is high, yet he looks on the lowly, and the haughty he knows from afar. You give me life though I walk amid affliction; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes. With your right hand you save me; the LORD will accomplish this for me. O LORD, your merciful love is eternal; discard not the work of your hands. ALLELUIA.
PSALM 140 I have called to you, LORD; hasten to help me! Hear my voice when I cry to you. Let my prayer be accepted as incense before you, the raising of my hands like an evening oblation. Set, O LORD, a guard on my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips! Do not turn my heart to things that are evil, to wicked deeds with those who are sinners. Never allow me to share in their feasting. If a good man strikes me it is kindness; but let the oil of the wicked not anoint my head. Let my prayer be ever against their malice. If they fall into the merciless hands of their judges, they will grasp how kind are my words. As clods of earth plowed up on the ground, so their bones were strewn at the mouth of the grave. To you my eyes are turned, O LORD, my LORD. In you I take refuge; spare my soul! From the trap they have laid for me, keep me safe; keep me from the snares of those who do evil. Let the wicked together fall into their traps, while I pursue my way unharmed. ALLELUIA.
PSALM 142 With all my voice I cry to the LORD; with all my voice I entreat the LORD. I pour out my trouble before him; I tell him all my distress while my spirit faints within me. But you, O LORD, know my path. On the way where I shall walk, they have hidden a snare to entrap me. Look on my right hand and see: there is no one who pays me heed. No escape remains open to me; no one cares for my soul. To you I cry, O LORD. I have said, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Listen, then, to my cry, for I am brought down very low. Rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, and I shall give thanks to your name. Around me the just will assemble, because of your goodness to me. ALLELUIA.
PSALM 144 Blest be the LORD, my rock, who trains my hands for battle, who prepares my fingers for war. He is my merciful love, my fortress; he is my stronghold, my savior, my shield in whom I take refuge. He brings peoples under my rule. LORD, what is man that you regard him, the son of man that you keep him in mind, man who is merely a breath, whose days are like a passing shadow? Lower your heavens, O LORD, and come down. Touch the mountains; wreathe them in smoke. Flash your lightnings; rout the foe. Shoot your arrows, and put them to flight. Reach down with your hand from on high; rescue me, save me from the mighty waters, from the hands of foreign foes whose mouths speak only emptiness, whose hands are raised in perjury. To you, O God, will I sing a new song; I will play on the ten-stringed harp to you who give kings their victory, who set David your servant free from the evil sword. Rescue me, free me from the hands of foreign foes, whose mouths speak only emptiness, whose right hands are raised in perjury. Let our sons then flourish like saplings, grown tall and strong from their youth; our daughters graceful as columns, as though they were carved for a palace. Let our barns be filled to overflowing with crops of every kind; our sheep increasing by thousands, tens of thousands in our fields, our cattle heavy with young. No ruined wall, no exile, no sound of weeping in our streets. Blessed the people of whom this is true; blessed the people whose God is the LORD! ALLELUIA.
PSALM 147a Alleluia! How good to sing psalms to our God; how pleasant to chant fitting praise! The LORD builds up Jerusalem and brings back Israel’s exiles; he heals the brokenhearted; he binds up all their wounds. He counts out the number of the stars; he calls each one by its name. Our LORD is great and almighty; his wisdom can never be measured. The LORD lifts up the lowly; he casts down the wicked to the ground. O sing to the LORD, giving thanks; sing psalms to our God with the harp. He covers the heavens with clouds; he prepares the rain for the earth, making mountains sprout with grass, and plants to serve human needs. He provides the cattle with their food, and young ravens that call upon him. His delight is not in horses, nor his pleasure in a warrior’s strength. The LORD delights in those who revere him, those who wait for his merciful love. ALLELUIA.
PSALM 147b O Jerusalem, glorify the LORD! O Sion, praise your God! He has strengthened the bars of your gates; he has blessed your children within you. He established peace on your borders; he gives you your fill of finest wheat. He sends out his word to the earth, and swiftly runs his command. He showers down snow like wool; he scatters hoarfrost like ashes. He hurls down hailstones like crumbs; before such cold, who can stand? He sends forth his word and it melts them; at the blowing of his breath the waters flow. He reveals his word to Jacob; to Israel, his decrees and judgments. He has not dealt thus with other nations; he has not taught them his judgments. ALLELUIA.
THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. LUKE (CH 12 : 32-64)
“Do not fear, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have, and give alms, provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fails, where no thief approaches, nor moth corrupts. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Let your loins be girded, and your lamps burning; And you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding; that when he comes and knocks, they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom their master, when he comes will find them: Assuredly I say to you, that he shall gird himself, and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and finds them so, blessed are those servants. But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have allowed his house to be broken into. You therefore be ready also: for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think.” Then Peter said to Him, “Lord, do you speak this parable only to us, or to all people?” And the Lord said, “Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his master will make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of food in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Truly I say to you, that he will make him ruler over all that he has. But if that servant says in his heart, `My master is delaying his coming;’ and begins to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and be drunk; The master of that servant will come in a day when he is not looking for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in two, and appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.” Glory to God forever. Amen. We worship You O Christ with Your Good Father and the Holy Spirit, for You have come and saved us.
1. With a compassionate eye, O Lord, look at my weakness, for shortly my life will end, and in my deeds I shall have no salvation. Therefore, I beseech, O Lord, with a merciful eye look at my weakness, my humility, my poverty and my sojourn, and save me. Glory to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
2. As the Judge is present, take heed, O my soul, awake and consider that awesome hour; for in the day of judgment, there will be no mercy on those who were not merciful. Therefore, have compassion on me, O Savior, for You alone are the Lover of mankind. Now and forever and unto the ages of all ages, Amen.
3. O the reasonable gate of life, the honored Theotokos, deliver from hardships those who, in faith, take refuge in you, so that we might glorify your immaculate birth of Christ for the salvation of our souls. Now and forever and unto the ages of all ages, Amen.
4. O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who is present in all places and fills all, the treasury of good things and the Life-Giver, graciously come, and dwell in us and purify us from all defilement, O Good One, and save our souls. Glory to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
5. Just as You were with Your disciples, O Savior, and gave them peace, graciously come also and be with us, and grant us Your peace, and save us, and deliver our souls. Now and forever and unto the ages of all ages, Amen.
6. Whenever we stand in Your holy sanctuary, we are considered standing in heaven. O Theotokos, you are the gate of heaven, open for us the gate of mercy.
Lord, hear us and have mercy on us and forgive us our sins. Amen. (Lord have mercy) 41 times
THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. LUKE (CH. 2 : 29-32)
Lord, now let your servant depart in peace, according to Your word: For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared before the face of people; A light to be revealed to the Gentiles and a glory of Your people Israel. Glory to God forever. Amen.
THE ORTHODOX CREED
I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven, and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church. I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen. Lord, hear us and have mercy on us and forgive us our sins. Amen. (Lord have mercy) 41 times
HOLY HOLY HOLY
Holy Holy Holy. Lord of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of Your glory and honor. Have mercy on us, O God the Father, the Almighty O Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, God of hosts, be with us. For we have no helper in our hardships and tribulations but You. Absolve, forgive, and remit, O God, our transgressions; those which we have committed willingly and those we have committed unwillingly, those which we have committed knowingly and those which we have committed unknowingly, the hidden and manifest, O Lord forgive us, for the sake of Your Holy name which is called upon us.
Let it be according to Your mercy, O Lord, and not according to our sins. Make us worthy to pray thankfully: Our Father Who art in heaven …
ABSOLUTION
O Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, the Living and Eternal Son of God, enlighten our minds to understand Your life-giving words. Raise us up from the darkness of sin which ruins the soul. Make us worthy to become upright in good deeds. And at the time of Your coming to judge the world, make us worthy of hearing that voice full of joy saying, “Come to Me you blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you before the foundation of the world.” Yes, Lord, grant us in that Hour to be without fear, anxiety or condemnation; and do not judge us according to our many iniquities. For You alone are compassionate, longsuffering and exceedingly merciful. We ask this, through the intercession of our Lady the Theotokos, Saint Mary, and the intercession of all the choir of Your saints. Amen.
THE CONCLUSION OF EVERY HOUR
Have mercy on us, O God, and have mercy on us, who, at all times and in every hour, in heaven and on earth, is worshipped and glorified, Christ our God, the good, the long suffering, the abundant in mercy, and the great in compassion, who loves the righteous and has mercy on the sinners of whom I am chief; who does not wish the death of the sinner but rather that he returns and lives, who calls all to salvation for the promise of the blessings to come.
Lord receive from us our prayers in this hour and in every hour. Ease our life and guide us to fulfill Your commandments. Sanctify our spirits. Cleanse our bodies. Conduct our thoughts. Purify our intentions. Heal our diseases. Forgive our sins. Deliver us from every evil grief and distress of heart. Surround us by Your holy angels, that, by their camp, we may be guarded and guided, and attain the unity of faith, and the knowledge of Your imperceptible and infinite glory. For You are blessed forever. Amen.

Coptic Hours (Modified): Midnight Watch 2

Agpeya Midnight
INTRODUCTION TO EVERY HOUR
In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen. Kyrie eleison. Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord bless us. Amen. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto the ages of all ages. Amen.
THE LORD’S PRAYER Make us worthy to pray thankfully: Our Father Who art in heaven; . . . but deliver us from evil, in Christ Jesus our Lord. For Thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever. Amen.
THE PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
Let us give thanks to the beneficent and merciful God, the Father of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, for He has covered us, helped us, guarded us, accepted us unto Him, spared us, supported us, and brought us to this hour. Let us also ask Him, the Lord our God, the Almighty, to guard us in all peace this holy day and all the days of our life.
O Master, Lord, God the Almighty, the Father of our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, we thank You for every condition, concerning every condition, and in every condition, for You have covered us, helped us, guarded us, accepted us unto You, spared us, supported us, and brought us to this hour. Therefore, we ask and entreat Your goodness, O Lover of mankind, to grant us to complete this holy day, and all the days of our life, in all peace with Your fear. All envy, all temptation, all the work of Satan, the counsel of wicked men, and the rising up of enemies, hidden and manifest, take them away from us, and from all Your people, and from this holy place that is Yours. But those things which are good and profitable do provide for us; for it is You Who have given us the authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, by the grace, compassion and love of mankind, of Your Only-Begotten Son, our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ, through Whom the glory, the honor, the dominion, and the adoration are due unto You, with Him, and the Holy Spirit, the Life-Giver, Who is of one essence with You, now and at all times, and unto the ages of all ages. Amen.
PSALM 50
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your merciful love; according to your great compassion, blot out my transgressions. Wash me completely from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. My transgressions, truly I know them; my sin is always before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned; what is evil in your sight I have done. So you are just in your sentence, without reproach in your judgment. O see, in guilt I was born, a sinner when my mother conceived me. Yes, you delight in sincerity of heart; in secret you teach me wisdom. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I shall be pure; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear rejoicing and gladness, that the bones you have crushed may exult. Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my guilt. Create a pure heart for me, O God; renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from your presence; take not your holy spirit from me. Restore in me the joy of your salvation; sustain in me a willing spirit. I will teach transgressors your ways, that sinners may return to you. Rescue me from bloodshed, O God, God of my salvation, and then my tongue shall ring out your justice. O LORD, open my lips and my mouth shall proclaim your praise. For in sacrifice you take no delight; burnt offering from me would not please you. My sacrifice to God, a broken spirit: a broken and humbled heart, O God, you will not spurn. In your good
pleasure, show favor to Sion; rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Then you will delight in right sacrifice, burnt offerings wholly consumed. Then you will be offered young bulls on your altar. ALLELUIA.
Then the worshipper says :
Arise, you, O children of the light, to praise the Lord of Hosts, that He may grant us the salvation of our souls. When we stand in the flesh before You, take away from our minds the sleep of forgetfulness, and grant us alertness, in order that we understand how to stand up before You at the time of prayer, and send up to You the appropriate doxology, and win the forgiveness of our many sins. Glory to You, the Lover of mankind.
PSALM 134 O come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the courts of the house of the LORD. Lift up your hands to the holy place, and bless the LORD. May the LORD bless you from Sion, he who made both heaven and earth. ALLELUIA. Glory to You, the Lover of mankind.
Let my supplication come near before You; give me understanding according to Your word. Let my petition come before You; revive me according to Your word. Let my lips flow with praise, when You have taught me Your ordinances. Let my tongue speak of Your words; for all Your commandments are righteous. Let Your hand be for saving me; for I have desired Your commandments. I have longed for Your salvation, O Lord; and Your law is my meditation. My soul shall live, and praise You; and Your judgments shall help me. I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek Your servant; for I have not forgotten Your commandments.
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto the ages of all ages. Amen. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto the ages of all ages, Amen.
Glory to You O the good and lover of mankind. Hail to Your mother the Virgin and to all Your Saints. Glory to You, O Holy Trinity; have mercy upon us. Let God arise, and let His enemies be dispersed; and let all who hate His holy name flee before His face. But let Your people be in blessing, thousands of thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousands, doing Your will. O Lord, You shall open my lips; and my mouth shall declare Your praise. Amen. ALLELUIA.
The Second Watch
The worshipper says: The service of the second watch of the blessed Midnight Hour, we offer unto Christ our King and our God, beseeching Him to forgive us our sins. From the Psalms of our father David the prophet and the king, may his blessings be upon us all. Amen.
PSALM 120 Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me insight by your word. Let my pleading come before you; rescue me according to your promise. My lips shall proclaim your praise, because you teach me your statutes. My tongue will sing of your promise, for your commands are just. Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. I have longed for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight. My soul shall live and praise you. Your judgments give me help. I have strayed like a sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commands. ALLELUIA.
PSALM 121 Let my cry come before you, O LORD; give me insight by your word. Let my pleading come before you; rescue me according to your promise. My lips shall proclaim your praise, because you teach me your statutes. My tongue will sing of your promise, for your commands are just. Let your hand be ready to help me, for I have chosen your precepts. I have longed for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight. My soul shall live and praise you. Your judgments give me help. I have strayed like a sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commands. ALLELUIA.
PSALM 122 I rejoiced when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD.” And now our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is built as a city bonded as one together. It is there that the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD. For Israel’s witness it is to praise the name of the LORD. There were set the thrones for judgment, the thrones of the house of David. For the peace of Jerusalem pray, “May they prosper, those who love you.” May peace abide in your walls, and security be in your towers. For the sake of my family and friends, let me say, “Peace upon you.” For the sake of the house of the LORD, our God, I will seek good things for you.ALLELUIA.
PSALM 123 To you have I lifted up my eyes, you who dwell in the heavens. Behold, like the eyes of slaves on the hand of their LORDs, like the eyes of a servant on the hand of her mistress, so our eyes are on the LORD our God, till he show us his mercy. Have mercy on us, LORD, have mercy. We are filled with contempt. Indeed, all too full is our soul with the scorn of the arrogant, the disdain of the proud. ALLELUIA.
PSALM 124 “If the LORD had not been on our side,” let Israel say— “If the LORD had not been on our side when people rose against us, then would they have swallowed us alive when their anger was kindled. Then would the waters have engulfed us, the torrent gone over us; over our head would have swept the raging waters.” Blest be the LORD who did not give us a prey to their teeth! Our life, like a bird, has escaped from the snare of the fowler. Indeed, the snare has been broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth. ALLELUIA.
PSALM 125 Those who put their trust in the LORD are like Mount Sion, that cannot be shaken, that stands forever. Jerusalem! The mountains surround her; so the LORD surrounds his people, both now and forever. For the scepter of the wicked shall not rest over the land allotted to the just, for fear that the hands of the just should turn to evil. Do good, LORD, to those who are good, to the upright of heart; but those who turn to crooked ways— the LORD will drive away with the wicked! On Israel, peace! ALLELUIA.
PSALMS 126 When the LORD brought back the exiles of Sion, we thought we were dreaming. Then was our mouth filled with laughter; on our tongues, songs of joy. Then the nations themselves said, “What great
deeds the LORD worked for them!” What great deeds the LORD worked for us! Indeed, we were glad. Bring back our exiles, O LORD, as streams in the south. Those who are sowing in tears will sing when they reap. They go out, they go out, full of tears, bearing seed for the sowing; they come back, they come back with a song, bearing their sheaves. ALLELUIA.
PSALMS 127 If the LORD does not build the house, in vain do its builders labor; if the LORD does not guard the city, in vain does the guard keep watch. In vain is your earlier rising your going later to rest, you who toil for the bread you eat, when he pours gifts on his beloved while they slumber. Yes, children are a gift from the LORD, a blessing, the fruit of the womb. Indeed, the sons of youth are like arrows in the hand of a warrior. Blessed is the warrior who has filled his quiver with these arrows! He will have no cause for shame, when he disputes with his foes in the gateways. ALLELUIA.
PSALMS 128 Blessed are all who fear the LORD, and walk in his ways! By the labor of your hands you shall eat. You will be blessed and prosper. Your wife like a fruitful vine in the heart of your house; your children like shoots of the olive around your table. Indeed thus shall be blessed the man who fears the LORD. May the LORD bless you from Sion. May you see Jerusalem prosper all the days of your life! May you see your children’s children. On Israel, peace! ALLELUIA.
PSALMS 129 They have pressed me hard from my youth,” let Israel sing. “They have pressed me hard from my youth, but could never overcome me. The plowmen plowed my back, drawing long furrows. Yet the LORD, who is just, has destroyed the yoke of the wicked.”Let them be shamed and routed, all those who hate Sion! Let them be like grass on the roof, that withers before it flowers. With that no reaper fills his hands, no binder of sheaves his arms. And those passing by will not say, “The blessing of the LORD be upon you!” We bless you in the name of the LORD! ALLELUIA.
THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. LUKE (CH. 7 : 36-50)
Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went unto the Pharisee’s house, and sat down to eat. And, behold, a woman in the city, who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat to eat in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head, and kissed His feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke within himself, saying “This man, if He were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is who touch Him: for she is a sinner.” And Jesus answered and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he said, “Master, say it.” “There was a certain creditor who had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he freely forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose that he, to whom he forgave more.” And He said unto him, “You have rightly judged.” And He turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered into your house, you gave Me no water for My feet: but she has washed My feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. You gave Me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in has not ceased to kiss My feet. My head with oil you did not anoint: but this woman has anointed My feet with ointment. Therefore I say unto you, `Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” And He said unto her, “Your sins are forgiven.” And they who sat to eat with Him began to say within themselves, “Who is this who forgives sins also?” And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” Glory to God forever. Amen. We worship You O Christ with Your Good Father and the Holy Spirit, for You have come and saved us.
1. Give me, O Lord, many fountains of tears, as You gave, in the past, the sinful woman. Make me worthy to wash Your Feet which liberated me from the path of straying, and to offer you a precious fragrant oil, and gain, through repentance, a pure life, so that I may hear that voice full of joy: “Your faith has saved you.” Glory to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
2. When I realize my many wicked deeds, and the thought of that awesome judgment comes to my heart, a tremble takes hold of me, and I take refuge in You, O God, the Lover of mankind. So do not turn away Your face from me, I entreat You, Who alone are without sin. Grant humbleness to my poor soul before the end comes, and save me. Now and forever and unto the ages of all ages, Amen.
3. The Heavens bless you, O full of grace, the Bride who was never married. And we, too, glorify your incomprehensible giving birth. O Theotokos, the mother of mercy and salvation, intercede for the salvation of our souls. Now and forever and unto the ages of all ages, Amen.
4. O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, who is present in all places and fills all, the treasury of good things and the Life-Giver, graciously come, and dwell in us and purify us from all defilement, O Good One, and save our souls. Glory to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
5. Just as You were with Your disciples, O Savior, and gave them peace, graciously come also and be with us, and grant us Your peace, and save us, and deliver our souls. Now and forever and unto the ages of all ages, Amen.
6. Whenever we stand in Your holy sanctuary, we are considered standing in heaven. O Theotokos, you are the gate of heaven, open for us the gate of mercy.
Then the worshipper prays: Lord, hear us and have mercy on us and forgive us our sins. Amen. (Lord have mercy) 41 times
HOLY HOLY HOLY
Holy Holy Holy. Lord of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of Your glory and honor. Have mercy on us, O God the Father, the Almighty O Holy Trinity, have mercy on us. O Lord, God of hosts, be with us. For we have no helper in our hardships and tribulations but You. Absolve, forgive, and remit, O God, our transgressions; those which we have committed willingly and those we have committed unwillingly, those which we have committed knowingly and those which we have committed unknowingly, the hidden and manifest, O Lord forgive us, for the sake of Your Holy name which is called upon us.
Let it be according to Your mercy, O Lord, and not according to our sins. Make us worthy to pray thankfully: Our Father Who art in heaven …
THE CONCLUSION OF EVERY HOUR
Have mercy on us, O God, and have mercy on us, who, at all times and in every hour, in heaven and on earth, is worshipped and glorified, Christ our God, the good, the long suffering, the abundant in mercy, and the great in compassion, who loves the righteous and has mercy on the sinners of whom I am chief; who does not wish
the death of the sinner but rather that he returns and lives, who calls all to salvation for the promise of the blessings to come.
Lord receive from us our prayers in this hour and in every hour. Ease our life and guide us to fulfill Your commandments. Sanctify our spirits. Cleanse our bodies. Conduct our thoughts. Purify our intentions. Heal our diseases. Forgive our sins. Deliver us from every evil grief and distress of heart. Surround us by Your holy angels, that, by their camp, we may be guarded and guided, and attain the unity of faith, and the knowledge of Your imperceptible and infinite glory. For You are blessed forever. Amen.