The Power of the Litany

If you attended one of our services on Ash Wednesday, you heard and participated in the reciting of the Litany.  It was a powerful and poignant moment partly for what we are praying, and partly because we so rarely pray the Litany in modern times. The Litany has a long history in the Church. A litany, also called rogation, (both meaning “supplication” or “prayer”), is a series of prayer petitions and congregational responses. One of the earliest examples of a litany is one sponsored by St. John Chrysostom circa 400 A.D., which was used during processions through Constantinople. These litany processions grew in usage and became especially popular in times of war, disaster, and great strife. 

 In the 1540s King Henry VIII, during times of conflict with Scotland and France, ordered litany processions throughout England to pray for the Kingdom. Shortly before the first Book of Common Prayer was published in 1549, Archbishop Cranmer released The Exhortation and Litany in English. This liturgy become extremely popular being the first of its kind written in the vernacular. Anglican Divine Richard Hooker described the Litany as "absolute perfection", referred to its "principal excellence", and asserted that it was of "permanent use" in the Church's life.

The use of the Litany has changed much since the 16th Century.  The practice in most churches up until the 20th Century was for the Litany to be prayed according to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer instructions “after Morning Prayer upon Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays” – not just in times of strife. In our 1928 American Prayer Book (p. 54), the Litany is “to be used after the Third Collect at Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer; or before the Holy Communion; or separately.”  With its placement in the 1928 BCP immediately before the Penitential Office for Ash Wednesday, it has become a common practice to mark the beginning of Lent by reciting the Litany as we do in our Parish.

The Litany has four major sections: 

1)      The Invocation. The Litany begins with a petition to the Persons of the Trinity to have mercy upon us.

2)      The Suffrages, or pleas, to the Lord. Here we ask for deliverance from evil; deliverance by the power of Christ; intercessions for others and for ourselves.

3)      The Kyrie and Lord’s Prayer.

4)      The Supplication, or Second Litany, which is apropos for times of war or great anxiety.

The Litany concludes with a Collect that Massey Shepherd called “one of the finest expressions… of our utter dependence upon God if we are to escape the evils… that justly overtake us when we sin by trusting in our own frail nature rather than in His mercy and strength.”  With this in mind, it makes sense that we focus on the Litany during times of penitence such as Lent, and when we are experiencing personal strife in our lives. If you are seeking a Lenten discipline, I recommend you add the Litany to your private devotions, either part of the Daily Office or as a stand-alone personal supplication.  Reciting the Litany on a regular basis will allow you to walk in the footsteps of our Anglican forefathers, and it will bring you closer to God – which of course is one of the major reasons we observe Lent.

“In all time of our tribulation; in all time of our prosperity; in the hour of our death, and in the day of judgment, Good Lord, deliver us.”

--Fr. Deacon Chris

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through
nor steal.

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Tonight (and every Friday during Lent except for Good Friday), 7:00 PM, Stations of the Cross followed by light Lenten Supper

Sunday Services, 7:45 AM, 9:00 AM, & 11:15 AM (for online participation for the services go to: )

Sunday School, 10:30 AM

Wednesday at Noon – Holy Communion and anointing for healing (for online participation, check info under Sunday Services)

Saturday, March 11, 12noon, Requiem Mass for Diana Peyton.  Reception will follow in church undercroft.

Saturday, March 25, 8:30 AM, Men's Group in the undercroft with breakfast by Chef Claude Crump and Bible Study with Bob Boyd. Food, fellowship and Bible study with other men of the parish.

Monday, March 27, 7:30 PM, Vestry Meeting, undercroft
Food Donations 
Please help this month with a food donation if you are able. Christ House is very thankful for the food we provide to them each month. Please also buy low sugar cereals (and not the kid's types that have lots of sugar).  Current needs include the following:
• canned meats (chicken, corned beef, spam)
• peanut butter
• jelly
• tuna
• canned vegetables (corn, green beans - (regular and low sodium)
• individual fruit cups (low sugar)
• canned fruit (low sugar)
• cereal (low sugar)
• pasta (regular and gluten-free)
• instant potatoes
• Macaroni & cheese kits
• Coffee, cooking oil, flour, sugar 
Recently Updated List of Needs for MaRIH Center (crisis pregnancy center)
MaRIH Center with its all volunteer staff has been providing help to mothers-to-be and mothers in need.  If you can provide some of the items that are needed, please do so. (You can leave the donations where the food for the food bank is collected on the pew in the undercorft.)

Especially Needed
Baby wipes* (an ongoing great need)
Diapers (sizes 1*, 2, 3*, 4, 5*, & 6*)
Diaper rash ointment*
Baby shampoo*
Baby blankets*
Winter & Spring/Summer clothing for 0-3 months and 2T*
(Bold and  * are a critical need.)

Sleep Sacks: Girls 0-6 mos.
Socks: Boy/Girl 2T
ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made, and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent; Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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