Literary Liturgical Litany

Having been inspired by Thalia’s Blog Birthday post, I put together this litany for writers.  Its format follows the Great Litany of the Episcopal Church.  No disrespect is intended; rather, I hope that we all might seek the aid of the Author of Life as we set out to write.

O God the Father, whose name precedes all discussion of existence; who spoke all things that are into being; who orders the cosmos with a word,
Have mercy upon us.

O God the Son, the Word made flesh who dwelt among us; the author and perfecter of our faith; whose words will never pass away,
Have mercy upon us.

O God the Holy Spirit, who spoke by the prophets; who sunders speech and melds it anew into coherence; who intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express,
Have mercy upon us.

O holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, one God, who has given the scriptures by inspiration for doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness,
Have mercy upon us.

Remember not, Lord Christ, our first drafts, nor our long-disposed outlines; neither reward us according to our wordcraft.  Spare us, good Lord, spare thy creatures, for whom thou hast poured out the treasure of thy precious blood: the Word become flesh, the myth become fact, the sinless become sin for our sake.  By thy mercy preserve us, for ever.
Spare us, good Lord.

From all blindness of heart; from pride, vainglory, and hypocrisy; from envy, hatred, and malice; and from all want of charity,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From all false doctrine, heresy, and schism; from hardness of heart, and contempt of thy Word and commandment,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From tepidity of convictions and weakness of thought, reason, and diction,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From vacuity of substance and fatuous compositions,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From misuse of our time and distractions in our research; from antipathy for labor and the soul-weight of sloth,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From needless verbiage which obscures truth and sense,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From incorrect data, false testimony, skewed perspectives, incomplete citations, and misleading rhetoric,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From disorganized ideas; from overused tropes and clichéd plots; from plot holes and inconsistencies,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From paper-destroying fire and flood; from battery failure, power outages, viruses, frozen screens, unsaved documents, and all other complications,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From writer’s cramp and carpal tunnel syndrome; from smudged ink; from an illegible hand,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From poor grammar and careless editing; from conflation of similar terms and confusion of homophones; from the run-on sentence and typo,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From the evils of comma abuse, apostrophe neglect, and subject-verb disagreement,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From confusion of tense, voice, and mood,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From all kinds of aphasia and dullness of expression,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From unconstructive, vicious reviews; from careless readership,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From fear of honest writing and the perils of self-doubt,
Good Lord, deliver us.

In all instances of writer’s block; in all time of springing words; in the hour of editing, and in the day of publishing,
Good Lord, deliver us.

We writers do beseech thee to hear us, O Lord God; and that it may please thee to govern our hearts to glorify you in our writing,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to illumine our minds as we put words to the page,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to breathe into our spirits your life-giving word, and sustain us when fainting,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to inspire us, in our several callings, to do the work which thou givest us to do with singleness of heart as thy servants, and for the common good,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

That it may please thee to grant that, in the fellowship of Francis de Sales and all the saints, we may attain to thy heavenly kingdom,
We beseech thee to hear us, good Lord.

Son of God, we beseech thee to hear us.
Son of God, we beseech thee to hear us.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy upon us.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy upon us.

O Lamb of God, that takest away the sins of the world,
Grant us thy peace.

O Christ, hear us.
O Christ, hear us.

Kyrie eleison.
Christe eleison.
Kyrie eleison.

Let us pray.

We humbly beseech thee, O Father, mercifully to look upon our infirmities; and, for the glory of your Name, turn from us all those evils that we most justly have deserved; and grant that in all our troubles we may put our whole trust and confidence in thy mercy, and evermore serve thee in holiness and pureness of living, to thy honor and glory; through our only Mediator and Advocate, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore.
Amen.

On authors and The Author

Today I was writing my upcoming post on eucatastrophe for the Pages Unbound Tolkien reading event, when I remembered this little piece I wrote back in April, 2007.  Wow, yes, sophomore year of college!  I’m still really pleased with it, and thus bring it back for an encore performance, as it were.  (As an added bit of trivia, this was written before I’d read about eucatastrophe or any of those wonderful essays on stories by Tolkien or Lewis. Clearly I was tending in that direction, though.  A month later, I took the English class that changed my life: it was on “Fairy Stories from Shakespeare to Lewis and Tolkien,” and we did read the essays on the virtues of fairy tales and imaginative literature which have shaped my desire to become a literature professor.)

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Last night, or rather, this morning, I was thinking about how I like to joke about how my characters complain about the various things I put them through.  I noted that the things that seem painful and difficult to them are only temporary,  and that in the end, I always make sure things work out well.  In the midst of the tale, things may not seem to be working out for their good, but that’s because my characters can’t see the entire plot, as I do.

I realized that this is much the same way our own human lives run.  God is our Author, Who has promised to work all things to the good for those who love Him.  Sometimes in the middle of the story, when things are going badly, it seems like there can’t be a happy ending, but that’s because we can’t see where the story is meant to go.  We may not even get what seems a happy ending on this earth, but this is only the prologue to the Real Story.

The thought struck me then that as a human author, I do put my characters in bad situations because strife is necessary make an entertaining story.  How can we be sure that God doesn’t let bad things into our own stories purely for His entertainment?

Well, He wrote Himself into our story, into all the pains and struggles we have to deal with every day.  Not only that, but He allowed Himself to die a horrible death on the cross.  Because He loved us, because he wanted to show us just how much we each mean to Him.

I don’t think I could do that for any of my creations.   I don’t mean merely writing myself as a character within one of my own stories while I stay safe behind my computer screen.  I mean the kind of physical immersion into the written world that is the fanfic writer’s dream.  Oh, I wouldn’t mind at all truly living one of my stories if I got a cushy life with fun perks like magical powers or special recognition.  But I’m not sure I’d be willing to enter my worlds as a common man, unrecognized as the author who knows and cares about each of my characters, to be finally accused of heresy, mocked, and killed.  And if I did, why would I?  Not to make a fun story for me.  No, I could do that just fine without incurring any personal harm, thanks.  If I did choose to enter my world in such a manner, I’d only do so because I wanted to prove to my creations that yes, they are important to me and that I really do love them despite all seeming evidence to the contrary.  And you know, if I were willing to enter their story like that, subjecting myself to everything they experience, I don’t think I’d be likely to mess around with their lives just for fun.

I know I’ve heard God’s love described to me in those terms before, but it never really sunk in until I was considering the scenario of trying to convince my own characters that I do love them and that they don’t exist purely to be tormented for my own entertainment.  Now, from a writers point of view, I can’t say that there isn’t some truth in that.  As I said before, if I didn’t give them troubles, I wouldn’t have much to write about.  But at the same time, I do cherish them all simply because they’re individuals, children I’ve created and love because they’re all special.  Through my relationship to them, I think I’ve caught a glimpse of God’s relationship to me, His child and creation.

And I hope that somehow, through my role as author, I can reflect and honor my Author.