Monday, October 13, 2014

Out to a Place of Freedom

Once every four weeks, on Wednesday of week I in the Office of Readings, we get Psalm 18.  With vivid imagery of storm and destruction, it describes, well, a very rough time for the psalmist, the dramatic arrival of God to rescue him, and finally, peace, rest, and confidence that he can do all things through the strength the Lord supplies. The notes in my Bible say that this psalm recalls David's rescue from, and victory over, the murderous Saul.

It's a great psalm. Great to read when you are in the midst of troubles or when you have just gotten past them.

Verse 20 of this psalm was a particular favorite of Mother Delores Hart, the 1950's movie- star- turned- Benedictine -nun, whose amazing story we read in The Ear of the Heart  Poor Sister Delores had a very difficult struggle in her early years at Regina Laudis Abbey. She cried herself to sleep nearly every night. She  seemed to have missed the memo (before she entered) that chanting the Office in Latin was the primary work of a Benedictine monastic--and she was terrible at Latin! But somehow the unshakable conviction that God wanted her there saw her through that long crisis.

One day, Sister Delores chanted Psalm 18 verse 20 (in Latin) and couldn't quite figure out what it meant, but somehow felt it had great significance for her. After prayers, she asked another nun for the translation, which begins "He brought me  out to a place of freedom." Sister saw this as a sign that God was bringing her out of all her vocational difficulties, and so she took her firsts vows with confidence. She even made this verse the motto on her souvenir memorial card for her profession day.

Just one example of how the Liturgy of the Hours is both our public prayer on behalf of the Church, but also our very personal communication  with God at the same time.