Thursday, July 4, 2013

Gettysburg, General Lee,Psalm 144 plus weekly Q&A

Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight. (Psalm 144:1, King James version)

On this hot, muggy, cloudy July 4th afternoon, my husband and I are keeping cool by staying indoors and watching the 1993 film Gettysburg. What more fitting thing to do on this day and on this year, the 150th anniversary of that famous battle. 

In one of the early scenes, General Lee walks out of his tent and appropriately quotes the opening verses of paslm 144.  The script writers knew what they were doing. Lee, a devout episcopalian, probably read his bible daily. And if he used the Book of Common Prayer,the psalms would have been especially familiar to him. So naturally, a psalm about warfare would come to Lee's mind before he embarked on battle.

After a few years of praying the daily Liturgy of the Hours (Divine Office), many verses from the psalms become old friends. They come to you in moments of joy, grief, exhaustion, adoration, and--like Lee--resolve. Once you've immersed yourself in the psalms as formal, liturgical prayer, you find them springing up into your informal prayer:

O God, your are my God, for you I long...
Into your hands I commend my spirit...
My refuge, my stronghold, my God in whom I trust...
My soul waits for the Lord, I count on his word...

What are the favorite verses and phrases that come to you when you're talking to God?
And what are your questions for our weekly query post?

Happy 4th! Pray for our nation.

And welcome, new blog follower, Walter. Good to have you.


  1. I have just finished your book 'The Everyday Catholics Guide to the Litugy of the Hours' excellent book, by the way. I just thought I would tell you how I came to read the Hours. I am an Anglican Christian. I was brought up in a low evangelical church in the U.K. I now live in Australia. About 5 years ago someone introduce me to the books by Margaret Frazer about Sister Frevizze and I was hooked. However I was also interested in the detail regarding the Praying of the hours and started my journey. On the net I eventually found which I have been using on and off ever since. Last week I came across your blog through their links and have now signed up for your blog, purchased your book and here I am. I had a chuckle when I reached the conclusion of your book.."By now you know far more about the Liturgy of the Hours than most Catholics do." Blessings Maryann

  2. Ha! It's like that last sentence was written just for you.
    I did a quick search for Margaret Frazer's books. I"ll have to try one when I can figure out which are the earliest one in the series--there's so many, and I like to do a new series in the order they were written.
    We'v got a couple of Anglicans following this blog and praying the R.C, breviary, so you are in good company. I've used Universalis off and on--it's the big one in the UK--but mostly nowadays I use ibreviary, or, when I want to listen to audio while driving--I use All are great products.