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Author Topic: Getting the most from Divine Liturgy  (Read 1702 times) Average Rating: 0
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Marat
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« on: November 09, 2006, 11:01:35 AM »

How do you do it? I'm still fairly new and see a variety of approaches. I see some singing along, some with prayer ropes doing the Jesus prayer, so just standing silently. What do you recommend trying to get the most from it? I'm thinking trying to participate more, such as singing, but then I don't know all the music, and not sure which parts I'm free to join in on. I don't wanna be singing out and discover it is just me and the priest.

Anyway, how do you participate? What have you found increases what you get from attending Divine Liturgy? I love being there, but sometimes feel like a spectator watching a performance instead of being part of it.
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Pravoslavbob
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« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2006, 12:25:21 PM »

Depending on your parish, it might be hard for you to participate fully until you are received into the Church.  For those of us who are Orthodox, I think that there is no question that "getting the most" of the liturgy has to do with one thing, and that is receiving communion.  We spend our time during the liturgy and time before it preparing for that, there is no question that this is our goal.  It's not really like we are trying to "get the most" out of anything.  God is there giving himself to us as our ultimate food.  It's his precious and amazing gift to us.

On the other hand, I was lucky that I was allowed to sing before I was received into the Church.  That gave me a way of really participating, and feeling that I was part of things.  Since I love to sing and be expressive, it would have been very difficult for me to not be able to do this.  I sometimes forget how converts are aching to be full participants.  Don't worry.  Eventually, you will feel that you are completely part of what is going on there, just like everyone else.  Just try to be yourself, and to be natural.  If you feel that you have to express yourself, ask if you can sing along, or maybe even join the choir.  (You should check with the priest and the choir director about this being okay.) I think you should try and ask the priest to help you with fitting in at this stage of your catechumate.  (I assume you are a catechumen in spirit, if not actuality?) 

My two cents worth:  try and be as attentive as possible to what is going on in the liturgy.  (Depending on your personality type, this might mean singing along or listening attentively.)  Do this without following along in a book, unless you feel the need to check some things from time to time or you are singing.  It's not for me to judge individual people who are working out their salvation, but.....from my vantage point here, the people saying the Jesus prayer with the rope are out to lunch.  They should be paying attention to the liturgy, and not to their individual prayers, except maybe during the sermon.  Maybe I'm wrong on this, and the prayer ropes help them to focus their attention on what is going on.  That could be the case too, I guess.

Anyway, hope this wasn't too rambling.....

James Bob
« Last Edit: November 09, 2006, 12:27:48 PM by Pravoslavbob » Logged

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Panagiotis
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« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2006, 01:16:40 PM »

My best times of the Divine Liturgy is when my girls are sitting or standing on their own and not moving around. These time I can really participate!

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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2006, 01:53:16 PM »

First off, please realize that the growth you will experience is from your continually saying 'yes' to the Lord; He will lead you to all Truth, and it is this acquisition of the Spirit that is the purpose of our lives.

So, the goal then is to help you be open to the Spirit. What helps me....and you are not me, so this may not work for you....is to try to concentrate on the meaning of every word in every prayer said, and every word of the Liturgy that is used.

Clearly this is something that is not going to happen immediately. It will take effort, and eventually the difference will be felt. And, once the indescribable sweetness of the Spirit knows you and you Him, He will recede from you. You may feel abandoned forever, until the Spirit returns. But, keep trying, because in this struggle you will help yourself and others.

Certain services may appeal more to you than others. So, go more often to the ones you like best! I love the Paraklesis and the Akathist, because that helps me most due to my spiritual immaturity. Compline, well...not so much, at least not as much as Orthros or Vespers. Also, make special efforts to attend services in honor of saints that seem to stick out in your mind. There is a reason this drawing or attraction is occurring, even though we may not understand why at the time.They will intercede for you, and help you!

As an example of the above, St. Paraskeve has always been a favorite of mine, maybe due to my eye troubles--I've always been drawn to her. Then, wouldn't you know it, the first Liturgy I performed solo as a celebrant just so happened to be on her day!

So, where I'm going with this, is to pray with fervor and concentration. Be joyful in your peaks (of course, who wouldn't be joyful then!), and be persistent in your valleys. That is how you get the most of your time in the Temple.
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« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2006, 02:28:05 PM »

The Russian practice of crossing yourself at every "Lord have mercy", at the begining of the Lord's prayer, at the mention of the Theotokos and of Jesus in the prayer between the antiphons, at the invocation of the Trinity, and various other times is a good way to participate if you can't sing.  It means you have to pay attention, and just doing that is like saying that you agree with what is being said and that you are praying that in your heart.
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