from Morning Prayer, Tuesday of Week 4
So that your people may walk in innocence, you came to us, Lord Jesus, and told us to be holy as your Father is holy. Help your children to love what is truly perfect, so that we may neither speak what is evil nor do what is wrong. Let us stand in your sight and celebrate with you the Father's love and justice.
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from Morning Prayer
It was because the Lord loved you and because of his fidelity to the oath he had sworn to your fathers, that he brought you out with his strong hand from the place of slavery, and ransomed you from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt. Understand, then, that the Lord, you God, is God indeed, the faithful God who keeps his mericful covenant down to the thousandth generation toward those who love him and keep his commandments. (Deut. 8-9)
And something more: He keeps that covenant even with those who are faithless, calling them again and again to come home, reminding them in due season of His presence, lavishing on them all signs of His love. In a special way this is a season of solemn celebration of that sacrificial love--a time to recall our own faithlessness and to come home--prodigals all--to the loving embrace of a Father who will not call us prodigal, but rather, "My child, my only child." For that is how He loves each of us, as though we were His only child. Each of us cherished as an only child, together a family rejoicing when another has joined the ranks of those so loved.
That is the end of the covenant.
"Disgrace not the throne of your glory;
remember your covenant with us, and break it note." Jer. 14: 21
from "Ash Wednesday"
Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?
Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again
Read the whole thing here
But I through the greatness of your love
have access to your house.
I bow down before your holy temple,
filled with awe.
We each have the possibility of entering the innermoet sanctum of God's home and of staying there awhile in conversation with Him. This is done through His Will and power, not through our own.
Take a moment and think of what that would mean in your life--if you could spend a few minutes away from all that presently surrounds and concerns you and you could enter into His house.
A friend sent this link to a very interesting article on the prayer life of Clarence Thomas.
In the course of it, there is a litany from Cardinal Merry del Val, that struck my friend as a hard teaching:
Litany of Humility
O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved...
From the desire of being extolled ...
From the desire of being honored ...
From the desire of being praised ...
From the desire of being preferred to others...
From the desire of being consulted ...
From the desire of being approved ...
From the fear of being humiliated ...
From the fear of being despised...
From the fear of suffering rebukes ...
From the fear of being calumniated ...
From the fear of being forgotten ...
From the fear of being ridiculed ...
From the fear of being wronged ...
From the fear of being suspected ...
That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I ...
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease ...
That others may be chosen and I set aside ...
That others may be praised and I unnoticed ...
That others may be preferred to me in everything...
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should...
My friend noted that to take it seriously seemed to invite despair. But I pointed out that it was a detailed version of St. John of the Cross' todo y nada. That is, the litany does not prohibit one from accepting such graces as come to one, but asks God to grant us the freedom from fear or desire of these things, because such fear and/or desire was distracting from the "one thing necessary." It isn't that the objects mentioned are not legitimate things to desire or to fear, but rather that in either desire or fear of them we may find ourselves doing things that are not part of our particular vocation--going out of our way to seek or avoid things.
But this seems to be an interesting point and I'd love to hear what others think of the article and especially of the Litany.
I suppose I should be ashamed to admit that with my decrease in blogging there seemed to come a decrease in the fervor and content of my prayer life. Why that should be, I am still exploring, but I think part of it may be that I often shared the fruit of my prayer here, thus extending the prayer and making it fuller and giving me time to reflect upon and internalize the personal message I was receiving, while, at the same time, sharing some of the truths of the faith in general. This was a good practice, one to which I hope to return in some little way.
And to start, this small passage from Morning prayer. While I have no real depth of insight into it, nor any profound revelation, it touched my heart while I was praying and I thought I would share it in the hopes that it might also touch your heart with a certain knowledge of the profound love God has for each of us.
from Psalm 65
You crown the year with your goodness.
Abundance flows in your steps,
in the pastures of the wilderness it flows.
Even where there is no ostensible sign of His presence, His goodness is there, making life possible, "the force that through the green fuse drives the flower. . ." as Dylan Thomas might say to us.
Come, Holy Spirit,
bending or not bending the grasses,
appearing or not above our heads in a tongue of flame,
at hay harvest or when they plough in the orchards,
or when snow covers crippled firs in the Sierra Nevada.
I am only a human being: I need visible signs.
I tire easily, building the stairway of abstraction.
Many a time I asked, you know it well,
that the statue in church lift its hand, only once, just once, for me.
But I understand that signs must be human,
therefore, call one person, anywhere on earth,
not me-after all I have some decency-
and allow me, when I look at that person,
to marvel at you.
And as a result, my life is better.