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Manichaean Meditation
Miryai Mountain Monastery (Miryai-ji)

“In this sinful time, the pure denavar (monk) should sit down in pious meditation and should
turn away from sin and develop what is good.” (Mani to Mar Ammo called Sweet Teaching of the Sinless)

INTRO

The aim is thus: To glimpse the oneness of Amin-Hiya, and thus obtain “Gnosis” of that “Mystery”.
The reasoning is thus: The fallen mind obscures awareness of the primordial unity. By quieting the mind we will see into the true nature of the mind, which is coequal with Amin-Hiya.
The argument is thus: If the mind is fallen, it cannot see its own pure origins. The brain cannot control the flow of its own thoughts. Through use of the body and breath, the mind can be stilled long enough to glimpse the ultimate reality.

TIME

The timing is thus: The predawn hours are best, but any available time is good. The important thing is consistency, since Gnosis cannot be obtained overnight. (Manichaean monks should follow the meditation schedule found in the Shura which changes during each of the 8 seasons of the liturgical year.)

POSTURE

The posture is thus: Make the body sit perfectly still until its senses shut off, as during sleep. Put a cushion under the buttocks, but not under the thighs. Slightly arch the lower back so that the weight of the body rests below the navel a couple of inches. (Do not sit in a painful posture, no matter what anybody says.)

BREATH

The breathing is thus: Breath with the lower belly, not the chest. Breath normally for five breaths, then exhale almost completely, then begin again. Count the breaths at first if it helps stay focused. Keep a slight tension in the diagram since this helps one stay alert and awake. Eventually just follow the breath without counting.

THOUGHTS

The mind is thus: Do not entertain arising or wandering thoughts. Focus on Amin’s breath.

GNOSIS

The realization is thus: When a glimpse of the non dual oneness occurs, realize that it is just a glimpse. The “gnosis” must be deepened, broadened, and extended into ones daily life on earth. All 32 degrees of Nazirutha must be inwardly realized and outwardly manifest.

RESULT

The end is thus: Gnosis must result in the outward manifestation of the Wisdom of Miryai and Compassion of Yeshu. This is the true aim of enlightenment.

……………………………..

http://www.gnostic-church.org/liturgysoli.htm

Apostolic Gnostic Church in America (AGCA):

Divina Liturgia in Ritu Gnostico: The Gnostic Divine Service (AGCA)
(Forma Solitaria: for Solitary Celebrants)

These liturgical guidelines are copyrighted 2003-6 by the Apostolic Gnostic Church in America (AGCA). The text may be reproduced and distributed freely in electronic or print form, but must include this header and may not be sold or otherwise used for profit without express written permission from the Central Office of the AGCA. The collective copyright of the AGCA and its members to the entirety of this material is protected under relevant copyright-protection statues in the United States, Canada, the European Union, and the Republic of the Philippines, as well as international statutes for the protection of intellectual property. A PDF version of these liturgical guidelines is also available thanks to the volunteer work of Brother Bill Pernell.

The Divina Liturgia in Ritu Gnostico or Gnostic Divine Service is the central liturgical practice of the Apostolic Gnostic Church in America. In accordance with our principle of radical open communion, we welcome everyone, Gnostic or Christian, pagan or Buddhist, confirmed believer or one of many doubts, male or female, young or old, gay or straight, whoever you may be, to explore the meaning that our liturgy may have in your own life. There are three major sections of the Divine Service: The Invocation of Divine Light, the Celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist (Communion), and the Prayers of the Children of Light. All three sections are integrated and central parts of liturgical expression, but the Celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist can also be taken out of the Service and performed on its own, particularly as a part of daily spiritual renewal.

(Note: This is a version of the Gnostic Divine Service for the use of solitary celebrants. Substantively the Service remains the same as the service for group celebrations, but the text has been altered slightly to recognize the solitary nature of the celebration and the directions have been modified to assist individuals celebrating the Divine Service on their own. For small groups, see the Gnostic Divine Service for Group Celebrations.)

Please also remember, the directions for the actions of the “Priest/Priestess” are referring to the celebrant of the liturgy, and are not restricted to an ordained clergy member of the AGCA; the celebrant, as noted elsewhere in Church statements, can be any Church member (full or neophyte) or any person of good faith devoted to or aided by our spiritual traditions, because of our strong emphasis on the priesthood of all and the principle of radical open communion.

Finally, we would like to note that the liturgical directions the AGCA has provided throughout this document are intended to affect the greatest visual, aural, physical, and emotional symbolism in the celebration of the Divine Service. However, if at times certain elements must be left out occasionally (for example if candles are misplaced) or even on a regular basis – if, for example, an individual is a recovering alcoholic and feels uncomfortable consuming even a ritual amount of alcohol – then these instructions and directions may be modified as needed, so long as due consideration is placed on maintaining the dignity and the solemnity of the worship of Christ and Sophia in spirit and in truth. We trust that everyone can use common sense to resolve these issues in a way that is fair and spiritually compassionate. Finally, we must emphasize that if you are under 21 or the legal drinking age in your locality, make sure you have permission from your parents or other guardians to use wine for religious purposes in your ceremony, and if not then substitute grape juice.

The Invocation of Divine Light (Liturgia Lucis)

Opening Rites

[A small altar (can be a temporary space) should be set up with two candles (one white and one black) on the rear sides of the altar, a bowl of spring or fresh water, an amount of bread small enough to be consumed by the celebrant (preferably a small uncut loaf), and a goblet (of wood, noble metal, pottery, or clear crystal if possible) filled with a small amount of wine (color and type are unimportant). If possible, a cotton or linen towel and a few flower petals or small leaves from a flowering plant should be placed alongside the bowl of water. The altar is a sacred ceremonial space and should not be used as a table for other items during the ritual celebration of the Divine Service, even if it is only temporarily set aside for sacred use.]

[The Priest(ess) should be seated facing the altar, and spend a few moments in quite prayer or meditation in preparation for presiding over the Sacred Mysteries. Standing, the Priest(ess) should then turn silently in each of the four directions, making a profound bow and briefly meditating four times while holding open his or her hands to invite the spiritual communion of all animals, spirits, and human beings in the Divine Service. Following this, the Priest(ess) should make a final gesture of respect toward the altar such as genuflecting or bowing to place a kiss on the surface, as it becomes the Table for the celebration of God’s Sacred Mysteries. Standing, s/he prays:]

In the name of the One True God, the Beloved Son Jesus Christ, and the Eternal Lady of Light, Sophia. Amen.

I have come here today to set aside and make sacred a brief time of prayer and worship, when my spirit meets God in the totality of spiritual light that pervades our universe. I seek gnosis, the knowledge of the one God, living and true. This is my great Beloved, who loves me at all times like a tender Mother and Father, unconditionally and unchangingly.

Though invisible, this God is active in my heart. Though incorporeal, in Christ my God entered human time to make known the path of spirit and of truth. Though one unbroken unity, God is diffused throughout our universe in Sophia, the eternal Lady of Wisdom, and is present to me today in my own true spiritual nature, with which I approach this altar with boldness as son/daughter, as priest(ess), prophet, and king/queen, in confidence but in deep humility.

These are the great mysteries that I come to celebrate today. Alone here but united to the unbroken community of the Church of Christ and Sophia, I come forward to encounter my God in sacraments and signs that open my eyes to a greater than natural vision. So I pray for the strength to encounter mysteries that challenge my mind and my heart, that Lady Sophia might grace me with the gift of Her understanding as I contemplate the unfolding of the great mysteries of salvation.

[Pause for silent reflection, then continue:] Gracious God, my beloved, I pray for knowledge of your love today. Illuminate what is dark in me. Bring peace to what doubts within me. Bring understanding to what confuses me. Enfold me in your motherly love, and as a gentle father guide my steps along my path this week and always.

The Collect

[The Collect is a special daily prayer that follows the introductory rites. Consult the list of prepared Collects on our Liturgy section of the webpage; the Book of Collects is a work in progress, and as more prayers are added, you will eventually be able to select prayers dedicating a particularly Service to Christ or Sophia, to God the Father-Mother, to God the Reconciler, in honor of various saints of our Gnostic tradition, in honor of certain pagan divinities, and for numerous other occasions including the death of a Brother or Sister, the birth of a child, as well as for the festivals we celebrate from both the Christian (Easter, Christmas, Feast of the Transfiguration, etc.) and non-Christian (Samhain, Lughnasa etc.) traditions. Feel free to compose your own Collects as well; and to submit them for the use of the community, please contact the Central Office (please also indicate if and how you would like authorship of the prayer credited to you in the Book of Collects). The Collect should always express the unity and the love of the community gathered here at the altar and in a mystical way around the whole world; although you are celebrating this Divine Service in a solitary form, you are never performing it “alone” but rather in the great community of all the Beloved gathered in the Church of Christ and Sophia, both the pilgrims on Earth today and those who have passed beyond the veil.]

[Inserted here as an example is one of the collects in honor of Sophia, “Sophia-2.” Please note that you may need to adjust plural pronouns to singular for the solitary celebration, which has already been done here.] I pray to Sophia, Mistress of all spiritual knowledge, that I may be attuned to the ways God moves toward me in the spirit of the feminine divine, and the path of feminine spirituality that is integral to leading me deeper in my journey toward spiritual awakening. Beloved Sophia, too often I accept without question the patriarchal viewpoints that would ascribe masculine qualities to God; too often I am unthinking in my words and my conceptualizations with regard to this historical masculinization of God, which has been so harmful to human justice and enlightenment. [If celebrant is female please continue with the following section, if male then skip to the material after the next bracketed comment]. I ask you in a special way to help me insist on the value, dignity, and centrality of myself and all my sisters for manifesting in a special way your spirit in the world we share. [The next section replaces the previous one if the celebrant is male.] I ask you in a special way to remind me and all my brothers of the importance of the divine feminine and of feminine spirituality and spiritual teachers, especially during those times when I may forget or fall into habits of speech or action long ingrained by the culture in which I live, which are so damaging and hurtful to the true spiritual equality of all women and men. [All celebrants continue here] I ask this in the name of our eternal sister and mother, Sophia, Amen.

The Reading of the Word of Light

[This section of the Divine Service involves a reading from one of our Gnostic sacred texts, such as the many Nag Hammadi texts or the Gospel of Mary Magdalene. Readings can be selected from the AGCA Lectionary or can be freely chosen in advance by the celebrant. In general, readings should be of moderate size (approximately 5-10 verses or sayings per reading is a good guideline).]

[The Priest(ess) offers a prayer recognizing his/her fundamental connection to the rest of the community of believers around the world] As I extend my arms in prayer, I ask all the mystical Church of Christ and Sophia here on Earth and beyond the veil to join me in praising our Great Lady Sophia, who gives us words of knowledge that touch our souls and raise our hearts to the light beyond all telling, the eternal Pleroma where pain and suffering dissolve in never-ending love.

Hail Sophia, great Goddess of All Creation, Queen of the Day, Mistress of the Night, Lover of my soul and my Eternal Mother.

[The passage should now be read aloud by the celebrant. Reading from the sacred texts should be in a slow measured tone, with sufficient space in between sentences not only to indicate the solemnity of the liturgy but also to allow contemplation of the deeper spiritual meaning of the words being spoken. As an example, here is particularly popular section from the Gospel of Thomas (sayings 72-77). The reading should be introduced as indicated here]:

A reading from the Gospel According to Thomas:

A man said to Jesus, “Tell my brothers to divide my father’s possessions with me.”
He said to him, “O man, who has made me a divider?”
He turned to his disciples and said to them, “I am not a divider, am I?”

Jesus said, “The harvest is great but the laborers are few. Beseech the Lord, therefore, to send out laborers to the harvest.”

Jesus said, “O Lord, there are many around the drinking trough, but there is nothing in the cistern.”

Jesus said, “Many are standing at the door, but it is the solitary who will enter the bridal chamber.”

Jesus said, “The kingdom of the father is like a merchant who had a consignment of merchandise and who discovered a pearl. That merchant was shrewd. He sold the merchandise and bought the pearl alone for himself. You too, seek his unfailing and enduring treasure where no moth comes near to devour and no worm

destroys.” Jesus said, ‘I am the light that is over all things. I am the All, the All came forth from me, and to me the All has come. Split a piece of wood and I am there; lift a stone and you will find me.

[Following the reading, there should be a few minutes of silent meditation, after which the celebrant prays:]

This is the Word of Light which has come into the world to enlighten the hearts of men and women. Amen!

The Meditation on the Word of Light
(Replacing the Homily and Discussion of the Group Celebration)

[In solitary celebrations, the Homily and Discussion of the Word of Light is replaced by a period of silent meditation on the day’s reading from the Word of Light, with the celebrant seated or standing before the altar and quietly reflecting on the meaning of the words that have formed a part of the day’s worship. Generally, this period might last from 10-15 minutes or even longer in some cases; it is important that we learn from our Quaker brothers and sisters to understand and respect the importance of silence as a form of solemnity and beauty in our liturgical worship. Alternatively, the celebrant might devote half this time to creating a journal entry for later reading regarding his or her thoughts about the reading at this time of sacred silence. With the Meditation complete, the Divine Service moves forward to the Celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist]

Celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist or Communion (Liturgia Eucharistica)

[The Most Holy Eucharist or Communion is an important part of our Gnostic liturgy as it is in some Christian traditions. However, the AGCA tradition of Apostolic Gnosticism has a unique form of celebrating the Eucharist. It is a rite that can be performed by every believer, not just “ordained clergy.” The symbolic beauty of the Eucharistic meal is certainly deeply symbolic in a group setting, but it is also a focal point of individual devotion. For solitary-practitioner members of the Church, we suggest that the full Divine Service be celebrated about once a week, while this Communion Service can be taken on its own as a shorter devotional form to be undertaken more often, even daily, because it is a focal point for our prayer and meditation and an avenue to fill our souls with the grace of Sophia, Mother of the Church]

Blessing of the Waters of Life

[The Priest(ess) stands before the altar, taking the bowl of fresh water and placing it directly in front of him/her. S/he holds both hands just above the bowl as s/he speaks]

I pray that God may bless this water, that it may become for me here the water of light and the gift of life. Jesus Christ is the great wellspring of this water, and I trust in his promise that when I come to know God, I will find sweet and never-ending waters that will quench all my thirsts and relieve all my sufferings, a gift beyond all human telling, without any price but that of love and compassion.

May these waters be blessed three times by prayers as I stand here in faith: first as I pray for gentle rain that falls from heaven to water the fields of our world’s farmers, second as I honor the water spirits deep in the earth, third as I remember with love and compassion all those who have no clean water to drink today. May God watch over those who have none other to keep their watch this day. Amen!

The Ceremonial Washing of Hands by the Child of Light

[The Priest(ess) then raises his/her hands slightly and continues] Now, I will wash my hands in this water given by God and by the spirits of nature. Many years ago, with the earth shuddering in fear beneath him, Pontius Pilate took water and linen and washed his hands as he prepared to murder the great Light-Bearer, our Lord Jesus Christ. But I standing here take water and linen to wash my hands so that I may go before that same Christ in faith and knowledge of his love. I pray that as I wash my hands here today, I may wash my spirit of doubts, of anger, of hatred, and that this gift of rain from heaven may water the fields of my heart and bring a rich harvest of love and compassion. Unlike Pilate, who washed his hands to kill, let me stand here as Christ, who washed the feet of his apostles in order to live. Amen!

[The following statement is only spoken if the celebrant has been baptized in the AGCA or another Gnostic tradition; if not skip to the next paragraph] As I wash in this water, may I see in the crystal springs and the soft touch of linen (or “cotton” as applicable) an outward reminder of my baptism into the Gnostic mysteries. I pray for all those around the world today who are seeking the knowledge of God with sincere hearts, that they may in the fullness of time and the free decision of their spiritual lives be led to become one with us in the mystery of baptism into our Gnostic family here on Earth, if such is truly God’s plan for them.

[All celebrants again] There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one Church, one washing in the water blessed by the spirit of Christ and Sophia, and here both water and spirit testify to the eternal love of our one God, living and true. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one dipping into the dye of God’s enlightenment where we are made as beautiful and pure as the falling snow.

[The Priest(ess) then steps close to the altar and places both hands fully in the bowl of water and then drys them with the linen or cotton towel in a ceremonial washing to prepare for the continuation of the celebration of the Most Holy Eucharist. As the celebrant washes his/her hands, s/he says]: I will wash my hands among the innocent, and the great goddess Sophia will fill my spirit with the light of life.

The Ritual Remembrance of the Light of Christ and Sophia

[The Priest(ess) takes the small flower petals or leaves from the altar, and holds them above the bowl of fresh water that has been used for the ceremonial hand washing. Keeping the petals/leaves aloft, s/he prays:]

As I prepare to celebrate the most holy rites of the Eucharist, left for all time as an eternal sign of Christ’s love for his fellow men and women, I also remember the great inner Eucharist that our Lady Sophia has left within our human hearts: the spark of divine light that infuses each of our souls and the spirits of all living things. Men and women, the beautiful animals, the great beasts that graze the plains, the vibrant fish of the sea, the wise oaks of the forest – all life, all nature, the earth itself draw on Sophia’s great love for the divine power that gives them life and hope. [Here the Priest(ess) begins to sprinkle the petals/leaves down to the bowl through the air, letting them glide to the surface of the water, continuing to speak as s/he does so. When all the petals/leaves are gone, the Priest(ess) gently slides her hands into the bowl, stirring the leaves/petals into the water as long as needed until she finishes the prayer.] Like petals (or “leaves) that drop from the Fullness above, Sophia sent flying through the universe the sparks of divine life that now rest in our souls. Like the tender Mother She is, She knows me by my true name, the name inscribed on the very essence of the light within me, a name more ancient than the mountains themselves. I stand here to cultivate the spiritual light within me; may I learn compassion for those all around me, for as I am spirit-being they too are spirit-beings, sons and daughters of the living God, and I are charged by the almighty God to bring them peace and love. This is my mission, and the mission of God’s mystical church here on the Earth we all share. And just as I can see these flowers (or “leaves”) in this water as distinctly as if they were the moon in a night sky, so others will come to see me as a shining light in the church visible and mystical, and they will know that I am Gnostic by one thing: my love for everyone and everything around me that lives and breathes and has its being in Sophia the Beautiful Lover of my spirit.

[The Priest(ess), after drying his/her hands once more, takes the white candle from its candlestick, and slowly dips the bottom half of the candle into the bowl of water, making sure not to let the flame go out, as s/he speaks]

In Sophia, light was sent out into the world of men and women. In Christ, the Light itself was sent to become a man, to know the pain and suffering of women and men, to experience their sadness, their weakness, their joys, their beauty, their pleasures and their pains. Only by experiencing everything in the life of a woman and man could Christ bring reconciliation between man and woman and the Pleroma of Divine Fullness.

When Christ walked on the earth, the Light-Bearer shone like a fiery comet, as he told his Apostles: “I have come to set the earth ablaze, and how I wish it was already burning!” But people were afraid and confused, when they saw the very Son of Man on earth, who was the personification of the light that set the world ablaze like it had never been before. And another fire began to rage against the fire of the Light-Bearer: the fire of jealousy, and anger, and resentment. This fire gave off no light, but only darkness visible as it burned away at the hearts of those who feared Christ’s message. It was stoked and fueled by the religious leaders, because just as today, the leaders of the established religions longed for power and loved to control others above all other things, and wanted to chain people to slavery with their creeds and their judgmental moral codes and established institutions rather than setting them free in the light of divine love.

And this dark fire of hatred made war on the pure fire of Christ’s love. What the religious leaders failed to see was that the Christ came not to wage war, but to lay down his life as a bridge for those who would come to God. He came not with a sword of vengeance, but with a great hammer of love to batter away the walls holding people away from knowing God as a friend and a parent. He came not to be a victor on the field of battle, but to be a victim giving his life for the cause of human salvation in peace and love and justice.

[The white candle should now be slowly raised from the bowl with the next sentences and lifted up gradually until it is held a few inches above the surface of the water as the Priest(ess) speaks] And so it came to pass that the fires of rage and fear and division overwhelmed the fires of divine love on a dark night, when the world was possessed by a fever of insanity. And Christ, who loved more than any other human being had loved, who dreamed dreams no other human being had dreamed, who felt more passion than any other human had dared to feel – my brother Christ laid down his life as a willing victim to the hatred of the religious authorities, who perverted justice and abused the institutions of society to destroy the Son of Man, working their deeds in the darkest hours of the night as if to hide their madness from the light of day. Christ, son of the eternal God, who humbled himself to take on human life, took on the next stage of that human life with his death on a cross of hatred, prejudice, and fear, where his life was snuffed out.

[As the last words are proclaimed by the Priest(ess), s/he rotates the candle and pushes the tip in the water to extinguish the flame. Then she holds the extinguished white candle aloft, slowly raising it above his/her head as she bows her head and speaks the following proclamation in Greek]

Kyrie Eleison [brief silence] Christe Eleison [brief silence] Kyrie Eleison [brief silence]

[These Greek prayers were an ancient part of many Christian liturgies, and translate to English as “Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy]

[After a brief moment of silence, the Priest(ess) lowers the candle, still holding it in front of her as s/he speaks.]

His life was snuffed out on the rough wood of a cross, but still the religious leaders did not learn from their crime. One by one, and even in groups, many of Christ’s followers followed him to martyr’s deaths, as Rome struggled to limit the impact of these apostles who were preaching a radical faith that might challenge the power of the Roman state and proclaim liberation to the slaves and the captives. And when the “Christian” church became the official religion of the empire, those who had been persecuted themselves became the persecutors. One group after another were condemned and persecuted by the “Christians” as they grew drunk with power and feasted on the blood of those who would not submit to the religious establishment.

So today, as always, I stop to remember and celebrate in a special way our Gnostic saints, who refused to submit to the established mode of Christianity. Their blood cries out from the Earth to God, and I remember here all those whose names are known to Christ and Sophia alone [brief pause for silent prayer] and in a special way my beloved brother and Gnostic martyr St. Priscillian and his companion brothers and sisters, murdered by the princes of darkness for their Gnostic faith at the end of the fourth century in Spain.

And where do we see our Lord and Teacher persecuted by these high and mighty religious authorities even today?

[The following section may be delivered ad lib and should contain some sort of verbal meditation on contemporary social issues. This phrasing is provided as an example]. He is the AIDS victim, afraid and alone; He is the young girl pushed and shoved and covered in angry epithets as she walks into a clinic to end a pregnancy for which society refuses to give her even the most basic financial resources to bring to the gift of life; He is the prisoner, walking the slow path to the death house where society destroys what it has created; He is the bittersweet joy of a marriage feast sacred in the eyes of God but not in the eyes of a debauched state that crusades against the “unnatural” love of two men or two women for each other, which is beautiful to God; he is everywhere where the latter-day Scribes and Pharisees and the debaters of this age lock up the keys of knowledge and bar the kingdom of heaven to men and women. [Finish ad lib section]

[After a brief moment of silence, the Priest(ess) replaces the extinguished white candle in its holder and picks up the black candle as s/he begins to speak.]

If this were the end of the story, ours would be a religion of tears and sorrow – but I know that even when hope became dim for a time, the light of God’s love was never extinguished. The divine spark that burned at the heart of our goddess Sophia kept the light alive even for those long days and nights when Christ slept in a martyr’s grave. And even as he slept, men and women who did not know Christ gathered around the world to offer worship at the festival of the great goddess Astarte, Ashteroth, Ishtar, the sacred Queen of Heaven – and who was this goddess but another personification of my great Lady of Heaven, Sophia? And the love of the Queen of Heaven reached down into the bowels of the earth, awakening the sleeping Christ. [Here as s/he speaks, the Priest(ess) relights the white candle with the black candle, then replaces the black candle in its holder.] His light, which the men of hatred thought was buried forever, shone forth in a great blaze of divine glory as he was brought forward to the fullness of life and the consummation of mystical union with his Bride, Sophia, Queen of Heaven. And that we might remember how the Queen of Heaven preserved the light of life when all around was darkness, we keep her ancient name – Astarte, Ishtar – in our greatest and most joyous feast, the Festival of Easter. May God touch my heart and make me a true Easter-Astarte man/woman, that I may always find the light, even in the darkness. Amen!

Consecration of the Bread and the Wine

[The Priest(ess) moves the bowl away from the center of the altar, and brings the plate of bread and goblet of wine directly in front of her/him. Raising his/her hands over the bread and wine, s/he begins the Eucharistic prayer.]

In the fullness of divine love, I have been given two great bridges between our human hearts and the light of God’s divine Aeon, and I pray that those holy bridges, Christ and Sophia, may be present with me here now as I celebrate the great mysteries of salvation and offer them praise by celebrating the most holy Eucharist in memory of them. [The following is added only if the speaker is an ordained Priest(ess) or Deacon(ess) of the AGCA]. And may gentle Mother Sophia guide my hands and take possession of my heart, so that I may be washed of my doubts and fears and that my pride may be humbled, so that I can celebrate the divine mysteries without arrogance and filled with love, as a servant of the servants of God.

[The Priest(ess) continues to hold his/her hands over the bread and wine as s/he speaks]. During his time on earth, Jesus gathered men and women around him as friends, disciples, assistants, and students. The night before one of his friends betrayed him into the hands of the religious leaders, Jesus had a last dinner with the men and women he loved. He knew that this would be the last time they could enjoy being together before the sorrow that was coming, and in the depths of his love, his gift to them was a sacred sign of his never-ending devotion as their brother, teacher, and friend.

[The Priest(ess) now takes the loaf of bread in his/her hands and elevates it slightly.] As they ate dinner, Jesus’ eyes became clouded with tears as he thought of the pain his friends would soon be enduring. As he fell silent, their eyes turned toward him, and he took a loaf of bread in his hands quietly. He closed his eyes for a moment, offering a prayer of thanksgiving for the gift of nature’s abundance, and then met the eyes of his friends. [As the next sentence begins, the Priest(ess) breaks the loaf in half, continuing to elevate both halves of the bread] He broke the bread, and passed it to his friends, telling them “Take this, and eat it, for it is my body, broken for you and for all the world. I am the light from whom all things come, and you can find me everywhere. Cut a piece of wood and you will see me; lift up a rock, and you will find me waiting. Whenever you do these things from now on [brief pause] remember me.”

[The Priest(ess) replaces the bread on the plate and picks up the goblet of wine in the same way] When his friends took the bread from his hands, Jesus picked up the bottle of wine, poured himself a new glass, and held it out to his friends. His eyes flashed with unshed tears as he spoke, “Take this cup, and drink the wine. It is my blood, the blood that will pour out from the body that I give up for you. This blood will wash away the pain that holds you back from loving God and your brothers and sisters. Whoever draws near me draws near the fire of God’s love – whenever you feel its warmth from now on, [brief pause] remember me.”

[Replacing the cup on the altar, the Priest(ess) extends his/her hands over the bread and wine once more as s/he recites the final solemn benediction of the consecration.] Beloved Sophia, your mystical Consort Jesus Christ gave us the bread of life to remember him by, but he also taught us that we human beings do not live by bread alone, but by the words of light from God. As I partake of this sacred meal, as I take sustenance in the form of grain baked by the fires of this world, I pray that you too will enter my heart and be for me my spiritual bread, to fill my soul with peace in the coming days until I return here to meet you and Christ once more.

Beloved Sophia, when I drink this wine, touch my lips and let me drink in your light, your wisdom, and your peace. Intoxicate me with your love. Let me be as a loving guest of your bridegroom, Christ, at this great wedding feast of this our spiritual wedding feast at Cana. Fill me with Christ and with your spirit, that I may drink from the cup of eternal spiritual life. Take my hands, so that when my journey on earth is through, I may sit with you in the perfection of the Aeon, and share a cup of celebration with you and all my brothers and sisters wherever they may be.

Now I join the Church of Christ and Sophia both here on Earth and beyond the veil in this great meal of love – I eat this bread and drink this cup as part of a great and never-ending family, and as there is one loaf and one cup, so there is one Church, one Lord, one faith, one Baptism, one God who brings us to the peace of eternal love. [Here the celebrant partakes of the sacred loaf and the sacred cup, consuming both the bread and wine entirely if this is possible. If this is impossible, the remnants may be kept on the altar until after Divine Service and left outside for the birds of the sky to share in the meal as well at the final Deposition of the Sacred Symbols]

[When the Communion has been finished, the Priest(ess) closes with the following meditation drawn from the Gospel of Thomas]. May I truly hear the voice of Christ as he speaks: The kingdom of God is not down under the sea or up beyond the sky. Rather, the kingdom of God is inside of me, and all around me. Christ tells me from across the centuries: “I am the light that sheds light over the whole world. I am the totality. From me all light went out into the world, and to me all the world’s light shall return. Cut a piece of wood and you shall find me; lift up a stone, and there I am.”

The Prayers of the Children of Light

[With the most holy Eucharist completed, the Divine Service draws quickly to a close with a series of prayers for and by those gathered around the world in the love of Christ and Sophia, for the Apostolic Gnostic Church in America family, and for the larger society. The Priest(ess) begins by reciting a litany of the saints, and then offers a series of special intentions aloud in the presence of the one true God]

I have celebrated the Eucharist of our most holy Lord Jesus Christ and his Eternal Bride Sophia, the Divine Wisdom. I close our Divine Service by drawing near to the mystical Church of Christ and Sophia, both pilgrim Gnostics here on Earth and those who have passed beyond the veil, in the spiritual communion of prayer.

The Litany of the Saints and the Holy Women and Men

First, I invoke the spirits of the friends and brethren and sistren that have gone before me, because I know that though they passed on to the Aeons or to other incarnations, their spirits remain living and vital, and they intercede for us alongside Christ and Sophia to the One Almighty God, living and true.

[In each case, the Priest(ess) mentions the name/title of the figure and then responds after a brief moment of silence. These individuals are all either personifications of the deity or are considered official saints as registered in the Great Scroll of the Saints, Martyrs, Teachers, and Enlightened Ones of the Apostolic Gnostic Church in America. For short biographies of any of the figures mentioned or for a copy of the Great Scroll, contact the Vicar]

Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God: Pray for Us

Jesus Christ Who Died and Rose Again to New Life: Pray for Us

Sophia, Queen of Heaven: Pray for Us

Sophia, Gateway of Salvation: Pray for Us

Sophia, Mistress of the Angels: Pray for Us

Sophia, Lady Astarte, Pray for Us

Artemis, Goddess of the Wilderness: Pray for Us

Athena, Goddess of Knowledge: Pray for Us

Apollo, God of All Creative Arts: Pray for Us

Hecate, Mistress of the Holy Darkness: Pray for Us

Janus, Man of the Two Faces: Pray for Us

Ouroboros, Serpent of Wisdom: Pray for Us

St. Thomas the Apostle: Pray for Us

St. Marcion: Pray for Us

St. Montanus the Prophet: Pray for Us

Sts. Priscilla and Maximilla, Prophetesses: Pray for Us

St. Valentinus the Great: Pray for Us

St. Basilides the Venerable: Pray for Us

St. Carpocrates the Enlightened: Pray for Us

St. Priscillian, Martyr of the Faith: Pray for Us

All Gnostic Martyrs and Victims of the Inquisition: Pray for Us

All Buddhist Saints and Boddhisatvas, Pray for Us

All Jewish Saints and Teachers of the Kabbalah, Pray for Us

All Christian Mystics and Visionaries, Pray for Us

All Holy Men and Women Whose Names are Known to God Alone: Pray for Us

Intercessions

[These intentions are recited by the Priest(ess) at every Divine Service.]

I pray for the Church, the Mystical Child of the Divine Marriage between Jesus Christ and Sophia in the mystery of salvation. [brief silence] Great Mistress Sophia, hear my prayer.

I pray for my brother Matthew, Vicar of our Gnostic Church. May he humbly fulfill his role as vicar and as slave in Christ to all the servants of God, and may Sophia guide his teaching and decisions so that he may reflect the true traditions of our Gnostic faith. [brief silence] Great Mistress Sophia, hear my prayer.

I pray for the esteemed brothers and sisters who serve on the AGCA Council, that they may be guided in their deliberations and consultations by the spirit of fraternal and sororal affection and the love of Sophia. [brief silence] Great Mistress Sophia, hear my prayer.

I pray for all members of our Church, that they may exercise in faith and sincerity the priestly functions handed down to them by Christ, and for all those touched by the spirit of Sophia with gifts of leadership, healing, and words of prophecy, that they may exercise their roles among the brothers and sisters with grace and humility. [brief silence] Great Mistress Sophia, hear my prayer.

I pray that the leaders of our world may give up the tools of war and the pursuit of mutual destruction, that they may work earnestly and sincerely for peace, and that all weapons of death and hatred may be crushed under the foot of Christ. [brief silence] Great Mistress Sophia, hear my prayer.

(optional) I pray for an end to the crime of capital punishment in our nation, a great scandal and stench that rises up to heaven as the state executes its own people, a perversion of justice. [brief silence] Great Mistress Sophia, hear my prayer. [If you live in an area where capital punishment has already been abolished, feel free to substitute another prayer for social justice in some area of concern to you].

I pray for our brothers and sisters who are sick and dying, and for all those who suffer in the world, that they may come to feel the great love of Sophia for those in pain. I pray that they may be healed by the sacred tears that fall from the eyes of the Queen of Heaven as she looks down on their illness and suffering. [brief silence] Great Mistress Sophia, hear my prayer.

I pray for my brothers and sisters that have died, marked by the knowledge of God’s love. And I pray for all those that have died without understanding of gnosis or of Christ and Sophia. I humbly trust and pray that God will, in the mysteries of a mercy beyond all human language, lead them to the Pleroma with the holy saints of God, where we shall live together forever in unity as brothers and sisters. [brief silence] Great Mistress Sophia, hear our prayer.

[The celebrant may add any additional intentions here according to the same formula]

The Dismissal

The Doxology

[The Doxology is a closing prayer recited at the end of divine service, similar to the Collect. The Doxology is chosen from the Book of Doxologies, a free publication of the AGCA. Again, many doxologies may be selected, or doxologies can be written by the individual as s/he wishes to express her own spiritual needs and beliefs. The following doxology is in honor of Sophia:]

Sophia, you come to us in sacramental signs that speak to us of your unseen love that dwells within our hearts and leads us to seek you and Christ in the great mysteries of our faith. Come upon me now and place the seal of your spirit on this time I have spent with you and Christ in prayer and celebration, that I may be guided in peace and in love until I stand once more at the table of our Lord and Lady.

[The Priest(ess) recites the Doxology, and all respond] Amen!

The Final Blessing and the Deposition of the Sacred Symbols

[The Priest(ess) extends her/his hands and recites the following prayer] As this service draws to a close, I humbly beseech almighty God to bless me and keep me and bless my spirit with every grace of light and truth. I conclude this Divine Service in the name of the one God, living and true; the Beloved Son Jesus Christ; and the holy spirit of divine wisdom, Sophia. I go forth from here to live in the world in peace and love. Amen!

[The Priest(ess) bows to the altar, then rinses the bread plate and the wine goblet in the bowl of water that was used for the ceremony. Then the water is carried outside, and if possible poured into the ground near a tree, with the following words.] Sophia, you feel the spirit of our ancient brothers and sisters, the trees of the earth. May this water that made possible our Divine Service feed this sister or brother tree in peace and love. Amen.

Further:

http://www.gnostic.org/meditations/meditationsitting/pages/meditation3how.htm

Gnostic Meditation

Power Meditation

The Second Coming of Christ: The Resurrection of the Christ Within You

 

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