Dear Beloved in Christ,
Today is the last of the Lenten Presanctified Liturgies. (There will be one more on Holy Tuesday, after Great Lent has ended.) This subdued and penitential service is a modified Vesperal Liturgy. As with a full Vespers, it begins with Psalm 103, then soon after has a Kathisma from the Psalter. For Presanctified Liturgies, the Kathisma is the Psalms of Ascent, Psalms 119-133.
The Psalms of Ascent offer profound ruminations on our relationship with God and our desire for Him. As consolation in these difficult times, here are some passages from these psalms, which can be offered as prayer.
SELECTIONS FROM THE PSALMS OF ASCENT
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The Lord shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore. (Psalm 120)
Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people from this time forth and forever. Do good, O Lord, to those who are good and to those who are upright in their hearts. (Psalm 124:1-2, 4)
Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways. The Lord bless you out of Zion, and may you see the good of Jerusalem all the days of your life. Yes, may you see your children’s children. (Psalm 127:1, 5-6)
Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. (Psalm 126:1)
Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning—Yes, more than those who watch for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord; for with the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is abundant redemption. (Psalm 129:1-2,5-7)
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forevermore. (Psalm 132)
I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go into the house of the Lord.” (Psalm 121:1)