Saturday, September 10, 2011

Resolved: stop skipping Saturday Vespers!

Saturday usually  finds me housecleaning like a maniac. Why, I don't know, since I am home during the week. Oh, that's right. On Saturday I can enlist the kids to join in. Or I imagine that I can enlist the kids to join in. I never seem to remember til its too late that on Saturday they sleep until noon to recover from the rigors of the school week. Well, at least they are not stepping on the freshly mopped floors.

Then there's the big grocery trip. Or maybe a family outing. Or, more likely, dropping kids off at various activities.And yardwork or helping my husband with whatever item in our old house need fixing.  I am usually quite tired by Saturday evening, and for this sorry reason tend to forget all about Sunday Evening Prayer I. I know I miss this particular day of Evening Prayer more than others because, when I actually DO get around to it, the psalms seem so new and interesting.

The fruit of my laziness and neglect today is to notice how wonderfully Sunday I  vespers anticipates and prepares us for Sunday mass.


I know, I'm kind of slow that way. Only been doing Divine Office for 30 years or so.

So tonight Psalm 122 reminds us that our approach to our parish church for Sunday mass should put us in the joyful frame of mind of Jewish pilgrims to Jerusalem: I rejoiced when I heard them say, let us go to the house of the Lord, and now our feet are standing within your gates, O Jerusalem...for the love of the house of the Lord, I will ask for your good.

Last week, Psalm 113 spoke of the sanctity of the entire day of Sunday: from the rising of the sun to its setting, praised be the name of the Lord. And Psalm 116 has eucharistic imagery: The cup of salvation I will raise; I will call on the Lord's name...a thanksgiving sacrifice I will make.

The week before that, Psalm 119 spotlights the liturgy of the word: Your word, O Lord, is a lamp for my steps and a light for my path, and again is eucharistic in Psalm 16 where we claim the one  God as our portion and cup.

Going all the way back to Evening Prayer I of Sunday, week I, we have still more liturgical imagery: Let my prayer rise before you like incense, the raising of my hands like an evening oblation.

Every Saturday evening we conclude psalmody with the canticle from Philippians that begins with the humility of God's Son in taking the form of a slave, and ends with His exaltation: Jesus Christ is Lord!
What a better way to begin and sanctify our Sunday than by proclaiming the mystery of salvation.

So, really, I'd better quit making excuses. Sunday Evening Prayer I is my best hope for putting away the craziness of Saturday, and pausing, exhaling, and starting the Sabbath.