Monday, April 11, 2016

Sunday Week I Psalmody- Old Friends or Over-Used?

Over the years several readers of this blog, plus a few people in a group whom I sometimes meet for morning prayer, have commented that the Morning Prayer psalmody of Sunday week I gets kind of old after a while, especially if you find yourself having to use it several days in a row. For example, we use it daily for an entire week during the octaves of Christmas and Easter. Or you might have a few times every year when you've had it on a Sunday, and then during the same week have one or more feasts or solemnities, where  once again Sunday morning, week I is the default psalmody.

These people, some of whom are drawn to the Liturgy of the Hours partly due to the variety found in this prayer, tell me that Sunday Week I's frequency of use becomes a bit boring for them.

Do any of you find it to be so?  On Friday of the Easter Octave were you feeling ready to scream over yet another round of dew and rain, frost and chill, ice and snow, etc. bless the Lord?

Personally, I don't find the frequent repetition of Sunday week I psalmody to be a problem. For me, it's a plus.  First, simply as a matter of taste, I happen to really like both the psalms (63 and 149).  Psalm 63 in particular, when recited with  its Eucharistic imagery in mind, is always amazing.  And being a huge nature lover, who sits by a picture window overlooking some very pretty countryside when I pray, I don't often find the Canticle from Daniel to be that tedious either.

In addition, after several decades of using a breviary, I've finally learned this set by heart, and that is another plus. It is a pleasure to be able to take my eyes off the text and say them from memory.

However, I do understand having ups and downs in one's degree of attachment to, and enthusiasm for the never ending routine of the Liturgy of the Hours. So, what do you do when interested starts to flag?  My solution is to change it up a bit.

Just a few examples:

-fool around with chanting if you've never tried it before. Maybe just one psalm each time. I've written plenty of posts on resources for this before. Just check the archives.
- make a point of trying out the various senses of scriptural interpretation as you pray the psalms. Maybe one day just try to appreciate the literal sense (what the Jewish authors themselves were talking about). Another time, try the christological sense (how various verses could be seen as applying to Jesus, and then, to really set your heart on fire, imagine our Lord himself reciting these lines in the synagogue, knowing full well how they applied to him!)  Then, another day, look for the Moral sense: what is God trying to tell me about how I should walk the Christian path here and now?

-try to be more mindful that with liturgical prayer you are praying on behalf of the Church universal. Apply the verses of each psalm and canticle to the need, joys, and woes of the body of Christ on earth.

Okay, those are my ideas. Is there anything special you do when the Divine Office starts to lose its charm? Any tricks to revive your flagging attention span?  If so, post them in the comments below so that we can all benefit from your experience.