Fr Patrick has a wonderful post on the Divine Liturgy. There are a couple of good lines that stand out for me.
The first one is the quote by Elder Zacharias of Essex:
“The Divine Liturgy is the highest form of prayer in which a sacred exchange takes place. Mankind offers to God ‘his temporal and limited life (in exchange) for the eternal and infinite life of God.’”
Couple this quote by one of Fr Patrick’s:
“Not all prayer is of the same depth—or height.”
This is so true. I’ve been a praying Christian for over 20 years. And no matter how much I pray, my prayers are always a reflection of my own spiritual maturity or lack thereof. In other words, my personal prayers cannot be any larger than who I am. In my earlier years of immaturity, I used to think that written prayers were a sign of spiritual deadness and only spontaneous prayers carried the essential “passion” to be effective.
Now that I’ve grown up a bit, I’ve incorporated Daily Hours and written prayers into my prayer life over the last several years. I cannot explain the added depth and height of praying prayers that have been written and prayed by men and women of greater spiritual maturity and wisdom.
And now participating in the Divine Liturgy every week at St Peter’s adds an even greater dimension. I’m truly entering into the highest prayer of the Church. By praying their prayers, I’m not only being trained in how to pray, but I’m praying in unity with the rest of the Church. I’m participating in actually being part of Christ’s Body, crying out in one voice prayers inspired by the Spirit.
The final line that leaps from Fr Patrick’s post is:
“The Liturgy is better experienced than understood.”
There are events in human life in which experience far surpasses any kind of rational understanding. And one of those moments is the Divine Liturgy. While some knowledge of the Divine Liturgy is helpful in order to participate in it more fully, I have found it much more beneficial to allow the movements of prayer, worship, theology, and beauty to wash over me like waves at the beach.
For those who are interested, Fr Patrick will be posting more on the basics of Divine Liturgy in the near future. These posts will be under the category “Orthodox Christian liturgics.”
You can read Fr Patrick’s entire post HERE.