Saint John Chrysostom (ca. 347 – 407), Archbishop of Constantinople, is celebrated by feasting in the Orthodox tradition on many days, including the 13th of November. He was such a treasure to the church. He was an amazing preacher and upon his death was given the surname chrysostomos, meaning “golden mouth.” The following prayer was written by him and it is one of my favorites:
Lord, exclude me not from Thy heavenly blessings.
Lord, deliver me from eternal torments.
Lord, whether I have sinned in mind or though, word or deed, forgive me.
Lord, deliver me from all ignorance, forgetfulness, cowardice, and stone-like insensitivity.
Lord, deliver me from every temptation.
Lord, enlighten my heart, which evil desires have darkened.
Lord, as a man I have sinned: as a gracious God, have mercy on me, seeing the weakness of my soul.
Lord, send Thy Grace to my aid, that I may glorify Thy holy name.
Lord Jesus Christ, inscribe me, Thy servant, in the book of life, and grant me a good end.
Lord, my God, even though I have done nothing good before Thee, grant by Thy Grace that I may make a good beginning.
Lord, sprinkle the dew of Thy Grace into my heart.
Lord of Heaven and earth, remember me, Thy sinful, shameful, and impure servant in Thy Kingdom. Amen.
Lord, accept me in repentance.
Lord, abandon me not.
Lord, lead me not into temptation.
Lord, grant me good thoughts.
Lord, grant me tears, the remembrance of death and compunction.
Lord, grant me the thought of confessing my sins.
Lord, grant me humility, chastity, and obedience.
Lord, grant me patience, courage, and meekness.
Lord, cause the root of good to dwell in me – Thy fear in my heart.
Lord, grant that I may love Thee with all my soul and mind and to do Thy will in all things.
Lord, protect me from certain people, demons, and passions, and from any other unseemly thing.
Lord, I know that Thou doest as Thou wilt: may Thy will be in me, a sinner, for blessed art Thou forever. Amen.
St. Leo the Great (ca. 391 – November 10, 461) helped identify Christ as One Divine person with two complete natures, human and divine. One of his letters, Leo’s Tome, was strongly influential at the Council of Chalcedon in 451. He also met Attila the Hun in 452 and helped ward off his invasion of Italy. And he officially became recognized as a Doctor of the Church in 1754. The Church is truly indebted to this servant of God.
This is listed as Sermon 1 and was preached on the day of Ordination. This is very much a prayer and an encouragement to the church to pray.
Let my mouth speak the praise of the Lord, and my breath and spirit, my flesh and tongue bless His holy Name. For it is a sign, not of a modest, but an ungrateful mind, to keep silence on the kindnesses of God: and it is very meet to begin our duty as consecrated pontiff with the sacrifices of the Lord’s praise. Because in our humility the Lord has been mindful of us and has blessed us: because He alone has done great wonders for me, so that your holy affection for me reckoned me present, though my long journey had forced me to be absent. Therefore I give and always shall give thanks to our God for all the things with which He has recompensed me. Your favorable opinion also I acknowledge publicly, paying you the thanks I owe, and thus showing that I understand how much respect, love and fidelity your affectionate zeal could expend on me who long with a shepherd’s anxiety for the safety of your souls, who have passed so conscientious a judgment on me, with absolutely no deserts of mine to guide you.
I entreat you, therefore, by the mercies of the Lord, aid with your prayers him whom you have sought out by your solicitations that both the Spirit of grace may abide in me and that your judgment may not change. May He who inspired you with such unanimity of purpose, vouch safe to us all in common the blessing of peace: so that all the days of my life being ready for the service of Almighty God, and for my duties towards you, I may with confidence entreat the Lord: Holy Father, keep in Your name those whom You have given me (John 17:11): and while you ever go on unto salvation, may my soul magnify the Lord (Luke 1:46), and in the retribution of the judgment to come may the account of my priesthood so be rendered to the just Judge that through your good deeds you may be my joy and my crown, who by your good will have given an earnest testimony to me in this present life.
By the grace of God, may our Church leaders have this heart of humility and may we pray this way for the them.
[All Saints Day, November 1, is the day which the Church has designated to honor all the saints, known and unknown. We can thank Pope Saint Boniface IV (c.550 – May, 25 615) for instituting this day. The eve of All Saints Day is All Hollows Eve, commonly known as Halloween. In honor of the holy saints of God, here is a prayer from the 10th Century, author unknown.]
How shining and splendid are your gifts, O Lord
which you give us for our eternal well-being
Your glory shines radiantly in your saints, O God
In the honour and noble victory of the martyrs.
The white-robed company follow you,
bright with their abundant faith;
They scorned the wicked words of those with this world’s power.
For you they sustained fierce beatings, chains, and torments,
they were drained by cruel punishments.
They bore their holy witness to you
who were grounded deep within their hearts;
they were sustained by patience and constancy.
Endowed with your everlasting grace,
may we rejoice forever
with the martyrs in our bright fatherland.
O Christ, in your goodness,
grant to us the gracious heavenly realms of eternal life.
[The great Christian humanist, scholar, and Catholic reformer, Desiderius Erasmus, has a birthday coming up (October 26 or 28). So, today’s prayer comes from him.]
O Lord Jesus Christ,
you have said that you are the way, the truth, and the life.
Suffer us not to stray from you
…….who are the way,
nor to distrust you
…….who are the truth,
nor to rest in anything other than you,
…….who are the life.
[Tomorrow marks the anniversary of Francis of Assisi’s death (1226). The founder of the Franciscans and influential spiritual leader, Francis left a number of written prayers. So, to commemorate his passing, here is one of them.]
Lord God: you are Three and you are One,
you are goodness, all goodness,
you are the higest Good,
Lord God, living and true.
You are love and charity, you are wisdom,
you are humility, you are patience,
you are beauty, you are sweetness,
you are sefety, you are rest, you are joy,
you are our hope
and our delight,
you are justice, you are moderation
you are all our wealth
and riches overflowing.
You are beauty, you are gentleness,
you are our shelter, our guard
and our defender,
you are strength, you are refreshment,
you are our hope.
you are our faith.
you are our love,
you are our complete consolation,
you are our life everlasting,
great and wonderful Lord,
all powerful God, merciful Savior!
Lord Jesus Christ; Let me seek you by desiring you,
and let me desire you by seeking you;
let me find you by loving you,
and love you in finding you.
I confess, Lord, with thanksgiving,
that you have made me in your image,
so that I can remember you, think of you, and love you.
But that image is so worn and blotted out by faults,
and darkened by the smoke of sin,
that it cannot do that for which it was made,
unless you renew and refashion it.
Lord, I am not trying to make my way to your height,
for my understanding is in no way equal to that,
but I do desire to understand a little of your truth
which my heart already believes and loves.
I do not seek to understand so that I can believe,
but I believe so that I may understand;
and what is more,
I believe that unless I do believe, I shall not understand.
Holy, holy, holy, O Lord of Sabaot,
heaven and earth are full of your glory and your majesty.
Have mercy on us, O God, the Father Almighty.
O holy Trinity, have mercy on us.
O Lord of hosts, be with us,
for we have no other helper in our tribulations and necessities but you.
Loose, remit and pardon, O God,
our transgressions that we have committed
voluntarily and involuntarily,
consciously and unconsciously,
secretly and openly.
O Lord, remit them for the sake of your holy Name,
by which we are called,
according to your mercy, O Lord,
and not according to our sins
Let the just rejoice,
for their justifier is born.
Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
For their saviour is born.
Let the captives rejoice,
For their Redeemer is born.
Let slaves rejoice,
for their Master is born.
Let free men rejoice,
For their Liberator is born.
Let All Christians rejoice,
For Jesus Christ is born.
~Augustine of Hippo (354-440)
O Lord our God, you wanted to live not only in heaven, but also with us, here on earth; not only to be high and great, but also to be small and lowly, as we are; not only to rule, but also to serve us; not only to be God in eternity, but also to be born as a person, to live, and to die.
In your dear Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, you have given us none other than yourself, that we may wholly belong to you. This affects all of us, and none of us has deserved this. What remains for us to do but to wonder, to rejoice, to be thankful, and to hold fast to what you have done for us?
We ask you to let this be the case in this hour, among us and in all of us! Let us become a proper Christmas community in honest, open, and willing praying and singing, speaking and hearing, and let us in great hunger be a proper Communion community! Amen.
~Karl Barth (1886-1968)
The feast day of your birth resembles You, Lord
Because it brings joy to all humanity.
Old people and infants alike enjoy your day.
Your day is celebrated
from generation to generation.
Kings and emperors may pass away,
And the festivals to commemorate them soon lapse.
But your festival
will be remembered until the end of time.
Your day is a means and a pledge of peace.
At Your birth heaven and earth were reconciled,
Since you came from heaven to earth on that day
You forgave our sins and wiped away our guilt.
You gave us so many gifts on the day of your birth:
A treasure chest of spiritual medicines for the sick;
Spiritual light for the blind;
The cup of salvation for the thirsty;
The bread of life for the hungry.
In the winter when trees are bare,
You give us the most succulent spiritual fruit.
In the frost when the earth is barren,
You bring new hope to our souls.
In December when seeds are hidden in the soil,
The staff of life springs forth from the virgin womb.
~Ephrem the Syrian (ca. 306-373)