But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me. With your faithful help rescue me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters. Do not let the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the Pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
John 8:31-38 NRSV
Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
They answered him, “We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, ‘You will be made free’?”
Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not have a permanent place in the household; the son has a place there forever. So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are descendants of Abraham; yet you look for an opportunity to kill me, because there is no place in you for my word. I declare what I have seen in the Father’s presence; as for you, you should do what you have heard from the Father.”
I will behold each man’s earnestness; each woman’s reverence. Let your mind be refined as by fire unto reverence. Let your soul be forged as metal. Let the stubbornness of unbelief feel the anvil, let the superfluous scales drop off as if iron, and what is pure remain: let the rust be rubbed off, and the true metal be left….Even now, I beseech you, lift up the eye of your understanding; imagine the angelic choirs, and God the Lord of all sitting, and His Only-Begotten Son sitting with Him on His right hand, and the Spirit with them present, and thrones and dominions doing service, and each man and woman among you receiving salvation. Even now let your ears ring with the sound: long for that glorious sound, which after your salvation, the angels shall chant over you, ‘Blessed are they whose iniquities have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered;’ when, like stars of the Church, you shall enter in it, bright in the outward man and radiant in your souls.
—St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures
Prayer of Response
Father, again we cry to you: “Free us for willful obedience!” Our hearts long to be free from the chains that hold us down and to no longer be slaves to sin. So often we delight in the mire of our own sin. Father, free us in the name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Help us to keep this holy fast and use it to refine us as metal so that we may be bright and radiant before you and for the entire world. Amen.