Monday, October 17, 2011

3rd Antiphon- Divine Liturgy series

While the priest and altar servants process with the Holy Gospel, the people sing the Beatitudes interspersed with the verse "Remember me, O Lord, when you come into Your kingdom."

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God.

Blesses are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. (Matthew 5:3-12).

-on feasts, special antiphons can be used- such as, "We your servants, O Protectress, bring thanks to you for victories, because you did save us from peril, O Mother of God. As one who has unvanquished power, free us from all danger, that we may cry to you: hail O bride forever virgin"

a few things come to my mind at this point in the Divine Liturgy:
  • Wow- we Catholics must be Bible believers! Here we are parading around with a Gospel book covered in precious art (in the past, gold and real jewels). The Gospel book is elevated during the procession, with altar servers carrying incense and crosses and icons surrounding the holy book. If people are paying attention, they should be 'gearing up' to listen to God's words in the Bible and take those words very seriously. 
  • The verse "Remember me, O Lord" is a little preview for the prayer before receiving the Eucharist, and it is one of my top-five favorite parts of the Gospel (you have to love the Good Thief!)
  • The Beatitudes turn everything on its head- How can the meek inherit the earth? How can those who mourn be comforted? How can the hungry be filled with good things? The answer to these questions- it is impossible, but nothing is impossible with God. 
  • As much as we would love peace and security here on earth, the Beatitudes quietly remind us that our hope is in the Lord and in our eternity in heaven where all will be well.
  • "Blessed are you when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven."--- I love this verse, but it is rather complicated. Should we seek out persecution so that we will be great in God's eyes? No- it must be for the sake of God not ourselves, so as usual pride can have nothing to do with it. And we must be reviled untruly for the sake of Christ to receive this eternal reward. It seems to me that this verse is calling us to live a good Christian life without seeking renown. And if our Christian life is annoying or offensive to others, we should bear this patiently and hope for a reward in heaven. A verse comes to mind as well:
Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also. (John 15:20)

5 comments:

  1. This is my 3 year old's favorite part of Divine Liturgy. He absolutely loves to kiss the Gospels when Father brings them around. :) At this point in the liturgy, I start wishing that I were Byzantine Catholic because as a child, I spent hours memorizing the Beatitudes, only to forget them as soon as the test was over.

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  2. This is so beautifully said. You make me love the Bible even more. The Byzantine Catholic rite is so organic.

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  3. Alice- We remember what we sing!

    Organic Catholic- sometimes I wish I were a theologian- able to articulate the 'meatiness' of it all- one could take an hour or so or more to contemplate each line of the beatitudes- don't you think?

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  4. You may have a few readers who are as ignorant as me, so here's a definition I had to look up:

    antiphon
    c.1500, "a versicle sung responsively," from Fr. antiphone, from M.L. antiphona, from Gk. antiphona, from anti- "over against" + phone "voice" (see fame). A re-adoption of the word which had become anthem in Eng. and lost its original meaning. Related: Antiphonal (1719); antiphony (1590s).

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  5. anon- thanks- I saw a good definition as well in Our Sunday Visitor's Catholic Encyclopedia but I couldn't find the book when I wrote the first antiphon post

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