June 05, 2012

Lord, Open My Lips



This has been a heavy spring. Lots of things to think about, discern, prepare for, experiences to contemplate. Much has been joyful: several weddings, the incredible success of the Gala, our ordinations. But mostly it has been a long, tired string of work and decisions. And I am quite tired.

Yesterday, at the office, I had to draft a couple important documents, and had only my own judgement guiding me. I fairly certain I did both very badly. I wondered why I was so unprepared. I knew what had to be said, and what the ultimate goal of each document was. I even knew where I needed to be diplomatic and where I needed to be frank. But somehow, words failed me. I was blank. And I wrote two short notes, almost offhand, and sent them on their way.

I was considering all this last evening at Adoration. As I turned to the Psalter, I took solace in the familiar language of the psalms, their hard, just word wrapped in the gentle rhythm of the Hour. The soothing repetition of antiphons and the comfort of familiarity praying the Our Father and Magnificat. The psalms, too, are so universal. No matter which you read, there is something in them for today's trials and joys - for the prayers in our hearts.

I remember a dinner when I was sitting next to a headmaster of a classical school. He was making the case for memorization in school curriculums. (All his students, by the end of grade four, had the entire book of Psalms memorized.) He made the case using his knowledge of education, psychology, philosophy, and the like, but his most compelling reason was his own personal story. His son had died at a young age (7, maybe 9?), and faced with tremendous personal grief as well as the duty to hold it all together for his wife and his other children, he knelt down and began reciting the psalms.

My own writers block is nothing compared to the grief of loosing a child. But as I sat praying and thinking, I found myself wishing I'd pray the Liturgy of the Hours more. With the psalms in our heart and on our lips, I think I'd be prepared for anything the day could bring me.

Photo: mine, film, from the graveyard at Mission Dolores.

1 comment:

  1. When I left the monastery, two of my biggest regrets were: no longer having daily solo adoration, and no longer chanting the Office in common. Back in the world, I found that making time for at least Office of Readings/Morning Prayer, Daytime Prayer, Evening Prayer, and Compline, truly helped me during my father's last years (my mom and I took care of him); and now, as I care for my mother, the Office is more essential than ever. Praying it alone, I can take more time, at any point in the hour, for silent meditation. I miss my fellow sisters, but the Office is still a great source of strength for me.

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