Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Random Beauty from Daytime Prayer

Daytime Prayer (the midday hour you can say at midmorning, midday, or midafternoon) has it's own particular flavor as compared to the other hours. It seems to concentrate on pratical holiness. The daytime psalter talks a lot about virtues and God's law. Daytime prayer is where we find Psalm 119, that marathon psalm of the Hebrew alphabet, spread out over a number of days.

Daytime prayer tends to make me experience more contrition and humility than the penitential psalms that we get during morning prayer on Fridays.  I'm  abashed to hear the psalmists of Israel insisting on complete uprightness and perfection when I know how very much I am not there yet. And then there's this lyrical love for God's laws, God's  decrees, and God's will  that is equally humbling. I may be--during  rare moments of piety--filled with joy over God's love, His mercy, His nearness to us in the sacraments--but the rules and regs? Not my top subject for a rhapsody of delight.

And His Will? There are times when I feel more like cringing when I see a new wave of That coming my way.  But listen to the psalmist:  "I rejoiced to do your will as though all riches were mine"

                                  "My soul is ever consumed as I long for your decrees."

                                   "Your commands have become my song in the land of my exile."

                                    "At midnight I will rise and thank you for your just decrees."
                                     "Let you love come and I shall live, for your law is my delight."

Talk all you want about legalism and what St. Paul said about law vs. grace. I am still in awe of the ideal expressed here. The Jews were at this point --I think-- in exile. They had no temple. The ark of God's presence was gone. But they had His law, His words to them on how they ought to live, and clung to that.
Something for me to keep in mind next time I am attempted to rationalize or explain away something I want  to do--or neglect to do--that is not quite right.

Then picture Our Lord praying these words in the synagogue or while going about His everyday life,or maybe even in Gethsemane.  The only One fulfilling them completely. The One, in fact, for whose lips they were written.

At this point, more words are useless.