Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Week II Rocks!

Wait. Isn't that an immature way for a sedate woman of my age to talk about the Psalter? What might have been better?
Monday Week II Surpasses all Expectations!
Monday Week II is the Cat's Meow!
I "Heart"  Monday Week II!
No, I better just leave it an move on.

Office of Readings
Don't want to spend too much time on this since many of you only use the one-volume Breviary. But every lent we are taken through the book of Exodus, since the story of Moses is the scriptural pre-figurement of our salvation. I need to re-read Exodus regularly to repair the Prince of Egypt version that is sadly lodged in my brain. Today I am noticing not only  how quick the Israelites were to lose faith in God at the first setback, but how  sarcastically   they complain to Moses: Were there no graveyards in Egypt that you had to bring us out here to die in the dessert? 
I will never understand why, this soon after their liberation, they didn't confidently sit back and watch the next   God would just  send one more plague on the pursuing Egyptians. 
Morning Prayer
This is  my favorite morning prayer of the entire  psalter (after Sunday Week I) , since it contains two very beautiful psalms. First Psalm 42: Like the deer that years for running streams, so my soul is thirsting for you, my God...when can I enter and see that face of God? It's that perfect pattern of sorrow, complaint, and trust in God that truly teaches us how to pray. Look at this frightening yet beautiful description of being overwhelmed with sorrow: deep is calling on deep in the roar of the waters: your torrents and all your waves swept over me. (I believe C.S. Lewis quoted this verse to describe how he felt in the days following his wife's death.) Through it all, the soul returns and clings  to the refrain of  Hope in God,I will praise him still, my savior and my God.

Next, there's the first half of Psalm 19, which C.S. Lewis calls the greatest poem of all the psalms, and perhaps one of the greatest poems, period. The heavens proclaim the glory of God, and the firmament shows for the the work of his unto day takes up the story and night unto night makes known the message. Say this one while you watch a sunrise. The New Covenant application is to Christ, the Sun of Justice, the Dayspring who shines on us who dwell in death's shadow.
Now for Daytime Prayer.
Psalm 119: You commands have been my delight; these I have loved. It always gives me pause to read the daytime prayer psalms (actually, the daytime prayer Psalm, singular, since we get sections of  the marathon Ps. 119 for 20 our of the 28 days in the psalter.) which so often express a passionate love for God's law. Too often we see God's laws as mere duties. Things we have to do. Sure, we love God. We love Him for coming to earth to save us. We love His Church. And because we love Him we willingly follow (more or less, in varying degreees of faithfulness) His law. But these psalms express wild enthusiasm about the law itself. There's another line in one of the daytime psalms that says Your commands have been my song in the land of my exile.  I hope that verses like this will come to haunt us when  we are fret about how honest we have to be when filling out government forms, or fuss about NFP abstinence, or trying to justify doing unnecessary  physical labor on a Sunday.
Evening Prayer
The highlight here for me is Psalm 45, which is split in two parts: one about the bridegroom and one about the bride. Since the part about the bride is always the responsorial psalm on the feast of the Assumption and possibly other marian feasts, I have always thought of it being applied solely to Our Lady. But there is another interpretation which I read  in The School of Prayer, and excellent commentary on  morning and evening prayer from Liturgical Press. Thanks to Scott Hahn and other commentators, most of us are familiar with the exalted position of the Queen Mother in Israel. The "bridegroom" half of Psalm 45 ends with The Queen stands at your right hand arrayed in gold. This is the Queen Mother, since the bride doesn't even enter until later in the "bride" half of the psalm, led to the king with her maiden companions. So, we see the Queen in gold as Mary, the mother of the King, Jesus. The bride of Christ is the Church, bringing along her maiden companions--people of all races and nations. Is that cool or what?

Anyone else want to comment on their Monday week II highlights?

(the above is another remix of a post from last year. I'm working on that Divine Office book proposal and don't have leisure for original work today.)