Much has been written in recent weeks concerning the revised prayer for the conversion of the Jews that Pope Benedict XVI wrote for the Good Friday service. The revised prayer, of course, is for the extraordinary form of the Latin liturgy, but a similarly worded prayer has been in effect in the ordinary, so-called ”Novus Ordo” form of the Good Friday service for decades.
The Church’s liturgy includes what is known as the “Liturgy of the Hours” or “Divine Office,” which since Vatican II has been recommended–albeit with only limited success so far–to laity in addition to priests and religious.
Today’s evening prayer, or “vespers,” prayed by the Church throughout the world in the Liturgy of the Hours, contains this prayer:
“Lead the Jewish people to the fullness of redemption. Enlighten with your glory those who do not yet believe in Christ.” The response to this intercession is “By the merits of your Son’s death, hear us, Lord.”
For those “praying with the Church”–in either Latin or the vernacular–prayer for the conversion of Jews and indeed for all those who do not yet believe in Christ is an integral part of our worship this day.
”Christ became obedient for us, even to death, dying on a cross” (Phil. 2:8).