Friday, July 19, 2013

A Prayer Before Reading the Scriptures

So it's after 2:00 AM and I can't sleep for some reason. That means I'm up and looking at liturgical texts online. About a week ago I stumbled across the liturgical texts for the "Rite of the Divine Mysteries" of the Church of the East (Chaldeans and Assyrians). The texts are those used by Chaldean and Assyrian Catholics here in the U.S. and other English-speaking countries. Curiosity made me bookmark the texts so that I could peruse them at a later date. While going through them tonight I found the following prayer that is perfect for beginning one's Bible study or Lectio Divina. In the Liturgy it is prayed by the priest before the Epistle is read. I believe the priest prays it out loud (I can't say for sure since I've never been to a Chaldean or Assyrian Divine Liturgy).

Enlighten our mental faculties, our Lord and our God, that we may understand and savor the sweet sound of your life-giving and divine commands. Grant, in your grace and your mercies, that we may reap benefit from them: love, hope and the salvation that befits both body and soul. Thus will we unceasingly sing a perpetual praise to you at all times O Lord of all, Father, Son and Holy Spirit forever.

And for good measure, here is the prayer prayed before the announcing of the Gospel in the Byzantine tradition. This translation is from the Melkite text that was revised a couple of years ago.

Shine in our hearts, Master who love mankind, the pure light of Your divine knowledge and open the eyes of our mind that we may understand the announcing of Your Good News; set in us the fear of Your blessed commandments, so that, trampling all carnal desires, we may live according to the Spirit, both willing and doing everything that pleases You. For You are the light of our souls and bodies, O Christ God, and we render glory to You, and to Your Eternal Father and to Your All-Holy, Good and Life-­Giving Spirit, now and always and forever and ever. Amen. 

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