So this year we added three presanctified liturgies to the line up of Holy Week Liturgies. I love the presanctified liturgy. The words are wonderful and the whole atmosphere is very different from the regular run of the mill liturgy that we are used too. I will have to do a post just on the presanctified. It is weird doing an evening service in the morning and the morning service at night but such is the liturgical cycle of the church during this time.
Last night was the first long service of Holy Week. The Service of Unction. I also love this service. There are seven readings, seven prayers, and seven Gospel readings all about the healing power of the Church. The prayers are a wonderful reminder of our theology. In the liturgy book I use the prayers are printed in small print. That usually means silent prayers. I wonder how many of my fellow clergy skip these all together? I come out and stand before the table with the oil on it, that sounds funny but I am sure you know what I mean, and pray these prayers. The service was a little more and an hour and half. Then one by one the faithful come forward for the anointing. This is a part of pastoral ministry that I do not get to do very often. Then the round of confessions. Each night more and more people will come for their once a year confession. This is an extremely humbling time for me as I listen to the hurts of people. The things they are struggling with and try and find some words of encouragement. Sometimes, like the other night, they turn into long conversations about life and other such things.
Confession after Unction brings up and interesting point that needs to be flushed out about after Holy Week. The prayers of the service ask for the sins of the faithful to be forgiven. Sometimes the same words from the prayer of absolution are used. So why go to confession after if the prayers have already been said? I know that Fr. Schemann of blessed memory wrote about general confession, not to supplant individual confession, so would this be along the same lines? your comments are needed here.
Yesterday afternoon was so nice I had to get out of the office for a few hours so I went to the cottage, a trailer actually, and raked leaves and sat in the sun with the dog. It was nice and I got my first blister of the season. Today will be another glorious day.
So today we have the Vesperal Liturgy of St. Basil at 10am and the reading of the 12 Gospels at 7pm and more confessions. Between all of that I have a hospital visit to make then to the florist wholesaler to get all the flowers, no lilies this year, and some other stops for bits that I need for the rest of the week.
So the work never ends and this is the busy time of the year for a priest. Next week I can relax a little and spend sometime reading again. I have not been up to date on entries. I had planned to make some entries on the different days of Holy Week but only managed to get Monday up, yesterday. So we will see. I also planned to get a podcast in this week but not sure that will happen either.
We are going to try and stream the service tonight and if that works we will stream the rest of the services this week. If you are in the area, Orthodox or not, come on by!