Wondrous indeed is the weapon of prayer and fasting. To Moses it revealed the Law, and as a sacrifice it inflamed the zeal of Elijah. By keeping it we faithfully cry out to the Savior: Against you alone have we sinned, have mercy on us.
Let us keep a spiritual fast: let us break every hypocrisy; let us flee the traps of sin; let us forgive the offenses of other, so that our sins might also be forgiven. Thus we shall all be able to sing: May our prayer rise like incense before you, O Lord.
At every Vespers we sing, “Let my prayer rise like incense.” Why do we want our prayers to rise – so that God may accept them and grant us forgiveness. This is the vertical dimension, but it is not effective without the horizontal dimension, we must forgive one another. The true meaning of a spiritual fast is an insisting on this theme during the Great Fast.
Today is a great day to learn more about The Jesus Prayer (“Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.”), THE prayer for good Christians. Orthodox Metropolitan Kallistos Ware gives a fine presentation.
Remember us, O God; from age to age be our comforter. You have given us the wonder of time, blessings in days and nights, seasons and years. Bless your children at the turning of the year and fill the months ahead with the bright hope that is ours in the coming of Christ. You are our God, living and reigning, forever and ever. Amen.
(At the conclusion of the 9 a.m. Divine Liturgy today this prayer was prayed. In the coming week, pray it again and again.)
“Prayer is the lifting up of the mind and heart to God. From this it is evident that it is quite impossible for anyone to pray whose mind and heart are attached to anything carnal –for instance, to money or to honors –or who has in his heart passions such as hatred or envy for others, because passions usually contract the heart, in the same way as God expands it and gives it true freedom.”
That all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good”
The Pope said,
We should always remember the dignity and rights of those who work, condemn situations in which that dignity and those rights are violated, and help to ensure authentic progress by man and society. Let us pray that all workers may receive respect and protection of their rights, and that the unemployed may receive the opportunity to contribute to the common good.
Today is the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Let us be united in prayer for the souls lost, the families and friends who continue to mourn and for the gift of peace.
O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths and traditions,
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain.
We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace
to all who died here—
the heroic first-responders:
our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and Port Authority personnel,
along with all the innocent men and women
who were victims of this tragedy
simply because their work or service
brought them here on September 11, 2001.
We ask you, in your compassion
to bring healing to those
who, because of their presence here that day,
suffer from injuries and illness.
Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families
and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Give them strength to continue their lives with courage and hope.
We are mindful as well
of those who suffered death, injury, and loss
on the same day at the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Our hearts are one with theirs
as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.
God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world:
peace in the hearts of all men and women
and peace among the nations of the earth.
Turn to your way of love
those whose hearts and minds
are consumed with hatred.
God of understanding,
overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,
we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.
Grant that those whose lives were spared
may live so that the lives lost here
may not have been lost in vain.
Comfort and console us,
strengthen us in hope,
and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world
where true peace and love reign
among nations and in the hearts of all.
This prayer was composed by Pope Benedict XVI and delivered on April 20, 2008, during his visit to the site of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center in New York.