Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Slothfulness and Vain Talking

Friday last was our staff retreat, led by one Father Joe Looney, a priest of the Diocese of Hartford.

This was my first retreat since last year's staff retreat, so I was very much looking forward to it.

It did not disappoint.

Although the meditations Father Looney preached were quite edifying, perhaps the highlight of the retreat for me personally was the chanting of the Ninth Hour from the Byzantine Horologion (Book of Hours). Two of my co-workers who are Byzantine Catholic had suggested we incorporate this into our retreat, and I'm glad they did.

Praying the Ninth Hour (as with the other hours of the Horologion as well?) calls for numerous prostrations—which is one of the chief reasons why I as a non-Eastern Riter am nonetheless a big fan of Eastern Rite spirituality.

Among the many beautiful prayers that comprise the Ninth Hour is the Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian:

O Lord and master of my life! Grant that I may not be infected with the spirit of slothfulness and inquisitiveness, with the spirit of ambition and vain talking.

Grant instead to me your servant the spirit of purity and humility, the spirit of patience and neighborly love.

O Lord and King! Bestow upon me the grace of being aware of my sins and of not thinking evil of those of my brethren; for you are blessed forever and ever. Amen.

O God, have mercy on me a sinner.

Yes, O Lord and King, bestow upon me the grace of being aware of my sins and of not thinking evil of those of my brethren; for you are blessed forever and ever. Amen.

Now that's a prayer.


Soutenus said...

What an amazing prayer. I would like to post it on my blog with credit back to you. Is that OK?

Rick said...

I appreciate the info re: Byzantine Catholics. My interest in Eastern Catholic rites is growing the more I learn about their relatively unsullied past.

John Jansen said...


By all means!

(Just make sure the credit for the prayer goes to St. Ephrem, not me.)

sunnyday said...

What a beautiful prayer. It reminds me of the Universal Prayer, which can be found here --


I don't know much about Byzantine Catholic rites, though you've mentioned the Byzantine Mass on your blog a few times. I think I'll look it up...

tommy said...

Hello John,
That is my favorite prayer, but I thought only us byzantine orthodox used it. Maybe we aren't so different from you Catholics after all...

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She is often on the news for conducting undercover investigations of Planned Parenthood. These investigations have recorded the organization covering up statutory rape of underage girls and offering to earmark donations to abort black babies.

We at Live Action are creating a national student run newspaper and are looking for students to help us with it. Do you know anyone who might be interested?
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God be with you.