Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Into Thy Hands

We hoped, prayed, worked, and voted for a presidential outcome that would restore religious liberty and at least slow down our nation's slide into the culture of death.

Didn't happen.

And once again, the prayers and reading's of today's Liturgy of the Hours fly like an arrow into the heart of our disappointment.  Not so much  to console as to strengthen. At least that's how it looks to me. There's a certain astringency to the message of today's office of lauds, for example. Like we're not getting honey poured on our wounds, but rather something more like witch hazel or styptic, to staunch our wounds so that we can return, gaily, to battle.

We began morning prayer with a psalm 86. A cry of the poor in distress. Turn your ear, O Lord and give answer, for I am poor and needy...I cry to you all the day long...the proud have risen against me, ruthless men seek my life, to you they pay no heed.
The psalm teaches us to ask--after we describe our sad situation--to ask for the things that count: Teach me, O Lord, your way, so that I may walk in your truth, single-hearted  to fear your name...O give your strength to your servant.. (Revised Grail Psalms translation) 
Single-hearted. There is only one goal on which to set our hearts: salvation. It's fine to pursue the good as we see it through political campaigns, but we can't let ourselves get distracted by either victory or defeat in these passing contests.
Moving along, the canticle from Isaiah spells out even more clearly how we must focus on holiness and spurn evil, that we may find our souls ever in a rocky stronghold, whose bread will be given, and whose water assured. (bread=the Eucharist. water=grace. Rocky stronghold= the heart of Jesus in his mystical body)
Psalm 98 is next, sort of an apocalyptic triumph. It declares that the invasion has already been successful (the Incarnation) and that all will be well at the final judgment.

Finally, in case we still don't get it, today's morning reading from Job spells it out. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord! We accept good things from God; and should we not accept evil?

Repeat that one to yourselves all day today. Then tonight, find the Te Deum in your breviary and read that. With feeling.