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Structure Of The Litany

The Litany is a series of prayers addressed mainly to God the Son. It
has two breaks, or interruptions, which consist of prayers addressed to
God the Father. Thus there are five sections.

Section i. from the beginning, to O Christ, hear us.

Thirty petitions to Jesus under the title Good Lord, with invocation
of Holy Trinity at the beginning, and urgent entreaty at the end.

Section ii. from Lord, have mercy upon us, to world without end.

Earnest appeal to the Father, with Lesser Litany as preface to the
Lord's Prayer.

Section iii. From our enemies, to O Lord Christ.

Eight Antiphonal prayers to Christ.

Section iv. O Lord, let thy mercy, to end of occasional prayers and

One fixed, and other variable, prayers for urgent needs.

Section v. The Prayer of S. Chrysostom, addressed to Christ, and the
Benediction 2 Cor. xiii.


i. The Invocation of the Holy Trinity in the 1st Section is very full,
and should be compared with the Invocation which is used in Section ii.
as a preface to the Lord's Prayer.

The words, Good Lord, are spoken to Jesus: as we may easily infer
from the words, whom thou hast redeemed with thy most precious blood;
and from, By the mystery of thy holy Incarnation, By thine Agony and
bloody Sweat &c. Son of God, O Lamb of God, O Christ.

ii. The Lesser Litany is to be repeated, verse by verse, by the
congregation; copying, in this respect, the setting of the Invocation
at the beginning of Section i. The beginning of the Section being thus
marked, the end of it is marked by the Gloria Patri.

iii. We shall show that these eight verses are probably intended for
Antiphonal singing.

iii. and iv. The Sarum Litany had here 10 couplets of versicles and
seven collects. Of these seven collects we may mention, O God, whose
nature and property &c., the Prayer for Clergy and People, and the
2nd Evening Collect, O God, from whom &c.

The substitution of the two sections, as they now stand, may be quoted
as an example of the improvements which were effected in the Revision


iv. The 4th Section includes various prayers of the Amen form. The
first of these may be known as the Collect of Complete Confidence. It
is made up of two older prayers, and the couplet which precedes it
expresses each of those two older prayers in a brief sentence. Thus
the couplet anticipates the Collect. [See also p. 128.]

The other prayers of this Section usually have equivalents in the first
Section. The repetition is made because of some urgency due to the
circumstances of the time. Thus, we have prayed for the Clergy
already, but in Ember Weeks we add, in the 4th Section, a Collect for
the Candidates for Ordination. Or again, we have prayed for sick
people, but at this point we may add a Collect for the time of any
common Plague or Sickness. Similarly, we have prayed for the
preservation of the fruits of the Earth, but may add a prayer here for
Rain, or Fair weather, or for cheapness and plenty.

Next: Our Cry To Christ

Previous: The Litany

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