Late Stuff: Lent Day 19, Third Sunday of Lent (Part 1) or At Dawn, Look to the East

Collect: O God, author of every mercy and of all goodness, who in fasting, prayer and almsgiving have shown us a remedy for sin, look graciously on this confession of our lowliness, that we, who are bowed down by our conscience, may always be lifted up by your mercy.

So yesterday was my first experience of the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, one of the many forms of Eucharistic Liturgy deemed valid by Holy Mother Church, and the most widely used liturgy outside the Roman Rite; it is the regular Liturgy of the Byzantine churches. Some friends and I went to a Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Church just 3 minutes from campus, and it was quite an experience.

Never before have I heard the Kyrie mentioned so many times. I’m also sure petitions for the Pope were said more than in the Latin Rite, both Ordinary and Extraordinary. Incense was probably used more than even the Extraordinary Form. Essentially the entire Liturgy was chanted; there was a sort of mysticism that was uniquely Eastern.

We as Roman Catholics have a duty to learn more of our Eastern brethren. In doing so, we may breathe more from both lungs of Holy Mother Church, the East and the West. Just as we look to the East as we await for the return of the Savior, let us look to the East for a fuller faith, and let us pray for unification with the Orthodox, so that the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church may be one again.

“…I listen to the Churches of the East, which I know are living interpreters of the treasure of tradition they preserve. In contemplating it, before my eyes appear elements of great significance for fuller and more thorough understanding of the Christian experience…the Christian East has a unique and privileged role as the original setting where the Church was born…Tradition is the heritage of Christ’s Church…Tradition is never pure nostalgia for things or forms past, nor regret for lost privileges, but the living memory of the Bride, kept eternally youthful by the Love that dwells within her.” ~ Pope St. John Paul II

“The very rich liturgical and spiritual heritage of the Eastern Churches should be known, venerated, preserved and cherished by all. They must recognize that this is of supreme importance for the faithful preservation of the fullness of Christian tradition, and for bringing about reconciliation between Eastern and Western Christians.” ~ Unitatis Redintegratio

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