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Author Topic: On being receptive during Divine Liturgy  (Read 373 times) Average Rating: 0
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Martyr Eugenia
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« on: May 24, 2013, 11:07:53 AM »

Searching through the archives, I have found Jim's advice very helpful. Can anyone else add on to this?  Mostly for a non-communing inquirer/catechumen. I seem to disengage when I cant follow chanting or when the Eucharist is being served.

Can anyone recommend any techniques or tips to keep one's mind attentive during personal prayer or while reciting the Divine Liturgy? It's not that i'm looking for a "spiritual experience" every time I engage in these activities, I am just looking for ways to actively engage my mind and remain receptive while participating. Is it best to focus on the words themselves?

I find that putting all of my five senses to work as much as possible keeps me focused. Yes, sometimes I pay special attention to the words only. Trying to absorb everything at once seems to me to be humanly impossible. So I look at the icons (not the congregation! - that can be a downer sometimes Wink ), watch the priest to see what he is doing to focus on why; I try to smell the incense; during Liturgy touch might be paying special attention to how I bow or cross myself; I anticipate the receiving of the Eucharist and the blessed bread. Certainly not all of this happens every Sunday, but there are various ways to keep myself engaged. And yes, sometimes through simple fatigue or a heavy mind, I find myself just going through the motions until everything is over. I don't let that bother me. I'll be praying again later at home, and again next Sunday at church.

Jim
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TheTrisagion
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« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2013, 11:09:55 AM »

That is excellent advice, I sometimes struggle with that myself, so it is good to know that I am not alone.
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katherineofdixie
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2013, 11:12:29 AM »

Can you sing?

I find that singing the Liturgy helps me stay focused and quiets the mind, keeping me from making mental grocery lists!  Grin
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« Reply #3 on: May 24, 2013, 11:53:31 AM »

Dear Eugenia,

I know of some people who keep a prayer rope in the pocket and pray on it when they can't follow what is happening. 

Sometimes our lines for Holy Communion are very long, and I silently read a small prayer book at that time. 

Love, elephant
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Knee V
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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2013, 01:27:54 PM »

In a general sense, I find that the more I prepare during the week the more engaged I am during the Liturgy, and the less I prepare during the week the less engaged I am, regardless of what is or isn't going on around me during the Liturgy.
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genesisone
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« Reply #5 on: May 24, 2013, 02:12:19 PM »

Searching through the archives, I have found Jim's advice very helpful. Can anyone else add on to this?  Mostly for a non-communing inquirer/catechumen. I seem to disengage when I cant follow chanting or when the Eucharist is being served.

Can anyone recommend any techniques or tips to keep one's mind attentive during personal prayer or while reciting the Divine Liturgy? It's not that i'm looking for a "spiritual experience" every time I engage in these activities, I am just looking for ways to actively engage my mind and remain receptive while participating. Is it best to focus on the words themselves?

I find that putting all of my five senses to work as much as possible keeps me focused. Yes, sometimes I pay special attention to the words only. Trying to absorb everything at once seems to me to be humanly impossible. So I look at the icons (not the congregation! - that can be a downer sometimes Wink ), watch the priest to see what he is doing to focus on why; I try to smell the incense; during Liturgy touch might be paying special attention to how I bow or cross myself; I anticipate the receiving of the Eucharist and the blessed bread. Certainly not all of this happens every Sunday, but there are various ways to keep myself engaged. And yes, sometimes through simple fatigue or a heavy mind, I find myself just going through the motions until everything is over. I don't let that bother me. I'll be praying again later at home, and again next Sunday at church.

Jim
I am humbled that you find my comments so helpful.

I wrote that almost four years ago, but it sounds like something I could have written yesterday. The acknowledgement of the reality of this world as God's creation has been and still is a powerful factor in my devotional life.
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Maria
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« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2013, 03:23:21 PM »

Searching through the archives, I have found Jim's advice very helpful. Can anyone else add on to this?  Mostly for a non-communing inquirer/catechumen. I seem to disengage when I cant follow chanting or when the Eucharist is being served.

Can anyone recommend any techniques or tips to keep one's mind attentive during personal prayer or while reciting the Divine Liturgy? It's not that i'm looking for a "spiritual experience" every time I engage in these activities, I am just looking for ways to actively engage my mind and remain receptive while participating. Is it best to focus on the words themselves?

I find that putting all of my five senses to work as much as possible keeps me focused. Yes, sometimes I pay special attention to the words only. Trying to absorb everything at once seems to me to be humanly impossible. So I look at the icons (not the congregation! - that can be a downer sometimes Wink ), watch the priest to see what he is doing to focus on why; I try to smell the incense; during Liturgy touch might be paying special attention to how I bow or cross myself; I anticipate the receiving of the Eucharist and the blessed bread. Certainly not all of this happens every Sunday, but there are various ways to keep myself engaged. And yes, sometimes through simple fatigue or a heavy mind, I find myself just going through the motions until everything is over. I don't let that bother me. I'll be praying again later at home, and again next Sunday at church.

Jim

When I was a catechumen in the Orthodox Church before my reception into the Church, I would focus on the priest as he gave communion to the faithful. Realizing that the Sacred Body and Blood of Christ was now shared with all those around me gave me great joy and also a great soberness as I prepared to receive the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, my Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ.

I also tried to focus on the words of the Divine Liturgy realizing that about 99 percent of the phrases and sentences come from the Holy Bible. At every Divine Liturgy, these passages would jump out at me, and I would realize how significant they were to my life and those around me.
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Maria
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« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2013, 03:25:44 PM »

In a general sense, I find that the more I prepare during the week the more engaged I am during the Liturgy, and the less I prepare during the week the less engaged I am, regardless of what is or isn't going on around me during the Liturgy.

This is also true.

If I take time to read the scriptures and the footnotes in the OSB before coming to Divine Liturgy, then I can also remember more of the priest's sermon.

Even though you are not yet receiving Holy Communion, read the prayers in the Canon for Holy Communion as it will prepare you for the Divine Liturgy.
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scamandrius
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« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2013, 09:40:08 AM »

In a general sense, I find that the more I prepare during the week the more engaged I am during the Liturgy, and the less I prepare during the week the less engaged I am, regardless of what is or isn't going on around me during the Liturgy.

+1

I have always tried to incorporate the precommunion prayers into my daily prayer cycle so that I'm always ready to commune and don't have to worry about suddenly and frantically preparing myself.  Notice the word "try."  This doesn't happen too much.
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