Throughout much of the year, Orthodox Christians all over the world pray these words from the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom:
It is proper and right to sing to You, bless You, praise You, thank You and worship You in all places of Your dominion; for You are God ineffable, beyond comprehension, invisible, beyond understanding, existing forever and always the same; You and Your only begotten Son and Your Holy Spirit. You brought us into being out of nothing, and when we fell, You raised us up again. You did not cease doing everything until You led us to heaven and granted us Your kingdom to come.
By praying with one voice, Orthodox Christians unite with each other using these words. This unity extends to all of the generations of Christians since St. John Chrysostom penned these words sixteen centuries ago.
Modern scholars who specialize in language analysis have compared the language of this prayer with the extant writings of Chrysostom. Their conclusion is one already shared by the Orthodox Church — these words were indeed written by the great bishop of Constantinople.
Therefore, each time we pray this prayer, we make the very words of St. John Chrysostom our words. We forge a remarkable relationship with him. We speak as one. This unity is made possible in the Holy Spirit — He who inspired St. John and He who descends upon us every time we gather to partake of the Body and Blood of Christ.
These past two days, I have highlighted prayers from the preamble of On the Holy Spirit by St. Ambrose. I did it primarily because of their beauty and their power. Do not forget, however, that they — like the prayer of St. John Chrysostom above — are also inspired by the Holy Spirit. Do not forget that — much like with the prayer above — we can make the words of St. Ambrose our words. Do not forget the remarkable relationship we can forge with that great fourth century bishop. Do not forget that we can pray together with one voice, participating together in the descent of the Holy Spirit.
So, go ahead, pray the words of St. Ambrose. Make his words your words. Stoke the fire of the Holy Spirit that resides in you and be one as Christ Himself desires us to be:
I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one — I in them and you in me — so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me (John 17:20-23).