Lesson from the book of Ecclesiasticus (Sirach)
Raise Your hand against the heathen, that they may realize Your power. As You have used us to show them Your holiness, so now use them to show us Your glory. Thus they will know, as we know, that there is no God but You, O Lord. Give new signs and work new wonders; show forth the splendor of Your right hand and arm; rouse Your anger, pour out wrath, humble the enemy, scatter the foe. Hasten the day, bring on the time; that they may declare Your wonderful works, O Lord, our God.
Pour out wrath.
Humble the enemy.
Scatter the foe.
There are five Lessons before the Epistle on Ember Saturday in Lent. They are traditionally used as an ordination sequence, and often omitted (except for the first) when ordinations are not conferred. That’s a shame. Okay, I groaned a little when the priest came out and announced he was doing the long form this morning. I had things to do, errands, some work work. Taxes. A neglected blog. It’s always in these situations that we get hit right between the eyes.
The fourth lesson comes after we’ve already heard in earlier lessons about the absolute sanctity of the Commandments (and our duty and ability to keep them), the value of sacrifice, and the glory of God. Now we arrive at prayers to destroy our enemies. How unFrancismercy, eh? no?
Of course these prayers are at the same time prayers for conversion… both for us and our enemies. We all need prayers, right? But there is a difference between those who know and acknowledge their need for a Savior, and those who in their obstinance refuse to do so. God doesn’t will Hell for anyone, but He respects the free will of those who choose the path to enter there.
I’ve been contemplating (meaning, I know I need to do it, but I’m being lazy and putting it off) starting the old breviary, with all the lost prayers for protection and wrath which have been removed from the new “liturgy of the hours.” Only God knows how many spiritual battles have been lost because of this.
Online breviary HERE
Three volume hardbound HERE