Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Quick Zip Through Midday Prayer

Everyone who prays the Divine Office, besides having the general intention of participating in  the prayer of the Church universal, "does" something different with the psalms while praying them. Finds different lines to meditate or apply to different facets of our life in Christ's Mystical Body.

Here's what came to me in Midday Prayer just now.

Psalm 119 

My part, I have resolved, O Lord, *
is to obey your word.



Isn't that so simple and yet so hard? Just follow Our Lady's advice, and Do whatever He tells you. Rid myself of the illusion that "my part" is something more creative, more assertive, more original that merely obeying. Obedience isn't "mere".  It's everything.

Last night my pastor asked me to commit to a regular stretch of adoration once a month at the approximate time I usually dropped in anyway. This would give him the assurance that someone would be there. A small thing, but it would impose on me the responsibility of actually getting there as well as leaving  on the dot, relinquishing my lazy option to show up a few minutes late or leave a few minutes early. And would add the obligation of getting on the phone with a list of  strangers to beg a substitute should I be unable to make it. (The sort of thing that makes us introverts go all whiny.) This was a very small thing that my pastor asked, and it's a measure of my pathetic-ness that I hesitated for a second. But, how often does a lay woman with an indulgent husband get to exercise obedience? So of course I said yes. And I'm guessing that "yes" will do me more good than all the religious articles and blog posts that I write because I feel like doing them.

Next- Psalm 55
Note the helpful subtitle verse "Jesus was seized with fear and distress"(Mark 14: 33)

O God, listen to my prayer, *
do not hide from my pleading,
attend to me and reply; *
with my cares, I cannot rest.

I tremble at the shouts of the foe, *
at the cries of the wicked;
for they bring down evil upon me. *
They assail me with fury.

My heart is stricken within me, *
death’s terror is on me,
trembling and fear fall upon me *
and horror overwhelms me...



...As for me, I will cry to God *
and the Lord will save me.
Evening, morning and at noon *
I will cry and lament.



...O Lord, I will trust in you.


So--no brainer--I visualize Gethsemane, and also the ongoing attack on Christ in His Church by such a horde of enemies.  I also noted the "evening, morning and noon": a reminder of what a marvellous thing it is to be able to mark the times of day with prayer, which is the whole point of the Divine Office.As the psalm ends, I am reminded to imitate Christ in ending all my complaints to God with an act of  trust. 


Last, the reading from Isaiah reminds me that  "my ways are not your ways, says the Lord."  It is such a temptation to be so sure that We know what a loving God would or would not do, and then be upset when He does not perform according to expectations.  "How could a loving  God permit X,Y, or Z to happen?"     It isn't wrong to ask that question, but we should always ask it of Jesus as He hangs on the cross. 


Concluding Prayer


...Bless the work we have begun,
make good its defects
and let us finish it in a way that pleases you.



Somehow, it's really, really comforting to see that the  non-perfection of everything I do is assumed by God. Not condemned. Just assumed. He will fix it all. 

3 comments:

  1. Oh I love that about obedience.

    To me the line that jumps out today is: "with my cares, I cannot rest." Small children keeping me up in the middle of the night, stealing my peaceful rest in the day. No quiet for prayer or reading. Right now I'm tempted to read the shouts of the foe as the tantrums of three ear olds and toddlers and infants. And, to be frank, my own short fuse as well. I am my own worst enemy some days, the fury that assails me is my own.

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  2. Yes, lots of times its very easy to see those biblical "enemies" in very concrete ways. A friend of mine, when she had let dirty laundry and dirty dishes reach crisis proportions (you and I never do that, right?) thought about psalm 118 while she slogged though the mess: they compassed me about like bees, they blazed like fire among thorns, in the Lord's name I crushed them"

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