The St. Tikhon’s GREAT BOOK OF NEEDS has prayers to be inserted in the Divine Liturgy “for the increase of love and the uprooting of hatred and all animosity.” I’ve used these prayers not only in Vespers but in other services as well as I find them very moving. The imagery of love being a seed planted and needing to be nurtured while animosity and hatred are the thorns and thistles which choke out love calls to mind the Parable of the Sower ( Luke 8:5-15 ). I think the petitions of this service can be readily adapted by individuals in personal prayer involving these same issues of love, hatred and animosity. These prayers are also good for communities which have experienced the divisiveness of a political campaign in which the candidates vindictively hurled all manners of slurs and name-calling against their opponents. We in the church need to be reminded that all in the church are to be treated as brothers and sisters in Christ.
A SERVICE FOR THE INCREASE OF LOVE
AND THE UPROOTING OF HATRED AND ALL ANIMOSITY
AT THE PROSKOMEDIA:
O Lord Jesus Christ, our God, Who gave a new commandment to Your disciples, that they should love one another: Accept this offering for the remission of all the sins of Your right-believing servants. And by Your Holy Spirit renew in us love for Your goodness and for neighbor, which has waxed cold in us. Establish this with strength in our hearts, that, fulfilling Your commandments, we seek not on earth our own ends, but that which is to Your glory, the building up of our neighbor, and for salvation.
AT THE BEGINNING OF THE DIVINE LITURGY:
That we may be cleansed of our sins and transgressions which have dried up in us love for Him and for our neighbor, and that it may be established by the power, action and grace of His Most-holy Spirit, and rooted in all our hearts, earnestly let us pray to the Lord.
That there may be planted and rooted in us by the grace of His Most-holy Spirit the new commandment of His New Testament: that we love one another, and not merely satisfy ourselves, but rather always strive for His glory and the building-up or our neighbor, let us pray to the Lord.
That there may be uprooted in us hatred, envy and jealousy and all other passions which destroy brotherly love, and that there may be planted unfeigned love, fervently let us pray to the Lord.
That there may be kindled in us the fervent love of God and our neighbor by the grace of His Most-holy Spirit, and thus burn out to the very roots the passions of all our souls and bodies, let us pray to the Lord.
That there may be uprooted in us the passions of self-love, and rooted instead the virtue of brotherly love by the power of His Most-holy Spirit, with broken and contrite hearts let us pray to the Lord.
That we may not love the world and that which is in the world, but rather have true love for God and His glory, and that we may love that which is profitable and for the salvation of our neighbor, so that we may ever gaze on the good things prepared in heaven, and that we may seek these with all our souls, let us pray to the Lord.
That truly we may love, not just our friends and brothers, but also our enemies, and do that which is good to those who hate us, with the power, action and grace of His Most-holy Spirit moving us, let us pray to the Lord.
That we may examine ourselves, condemn ourselves, and ever looking upon our own transgressions, humble ourselves before God and before everyone, never judging our brothers or sisters, but loving them as our very self, by the power, action and grace of His Most-holy Spirit, let us pray to the Lord.
That we may imitate the burning love of the Christians in ancient times for God and neighbor, and that we may be their heirs and successors, not only in word, but in true action, by the power, action and grace of the Most-holy Spirit, let us pray to the Lord.
That He may keep us immovable in the True Faith, in peace and the unity of burning love, increasing in all virtues, and preserve us unharmed from all soul-corrupting passions, by the power, action and grace of the Most-holy Spirit, let us pray to the Lord.
TROPARION, Tone 4:
You bound Your Apostles in the bonds of love, O Christ, and have firmly bound us, Your faithful servants, to Yourself, that we may fulfill Your commandments and have unfeigned love for one another, through the prayers of the Theotokos, O Only love of Mankind.
KONTAKION, Tone 5:
Kindle our hearts with flames of love for You, O Christ God, that being inflamed by this, in heart, mind and soul, we may love You with all our strength, and our neighbor as ourselves, and that keeping Your commandments, we may glorify You the Giver of all good.
PROKEIMENON, Tone 7:
I will love You, O Lord, my strength; the Lord is my foundation
My God is my helper, and I will hope in Him.
EPISTLE: 1 JOHN 3:10-24
GOSPEL: JOHN 13:31-35
AFTER THE GOSPEL:
O Lord our God, in Your mercy, as You are good, look down upon the ground of our heart in which love has dried up, cruelly overgrown with the thorns of hatred, self-love, and innumerable transgressions. And as You are the Source of all good, fervently we entreat You: having released a drop of the grace of Your Most-holy Spirit, richly bedew it that it may bear fruit, and make it increase, out of burning love for You, the root of all virtues—the fear of You—as also vigilant solicitude for the salvation of our neighbor, and the uprooting of all passions, evils of various forms, and hypocrisy, and as the Lover of Mankind quickly hearken and have mercy.
O Master Who gave a new commandment to Your disciples that they should love one another, renew this by the grace of Your Most-holy Spirit acting in our souls and hearts, that we will never become selfish, but always endeavor to please You and strive for the salvation our neighbor and pay close attention to that which is beneficial, we pray You, the merciful Giver of all that is good, hearken and mercifully have mercy.
You gave the first and greatest commandment, that we should love You, our God and Creator, with all our soul, with all our mind, and with all our strength, and a second, like it, that we should love our neighbor as ourselves, and that on both of these hangs the Law and the Prophets. Having taught us to fulfill these commandments in deed, convince all of us by the grace of Your Most-holy Spirit, that pleasing You, our Savior, through the salvation of our neighbor, we may receive Your promised blessings, for, fervently falling down before you, our Master and Savior, we beseech You, quickly hearken and mercifully have mercy.
That we may be perfected in Your love, O our God, constrain us, by the grace of Your Spirit, O Master, to have sincere love for our neighbor. For, to suppose that we have love for You, but hate our brother or sister, is a lie and to walk in darkness. Therefore, O Merciful One, that there be kindled in our souls and hearts love for You and for our brother or sister, we pray You, as You are merciful, quickly hearken, and as You are compassionate, have mercy.
O All-compassionate Lord, by the Grace of Your Most-holy Spirit, establish in us Your Love, that we may truly love, not only our brothers, sisters and friends, but, according to Your divine command, our enemies, as well, and do good to those who hate us, striving sincerely for their salvation, we pray You, O Wellspring of Good and Abyss of Love for Mankind, quickly hearken, and, as You are tenderhearted, have mercy.
The Lord said, “A new commandment I give you, that you love each other, even as I have loved you.”