29 January 2013

Getting Night Prayer

One of the great consistent struggles of my religious life is to pray night prayer (compline) with proper devotion.  Very often, much to my shame, it is left at the end of the day as a sort of final task, a coda to whatever items with which I've busied myself throughout the day.

Yet, I found myself taken by last night's (Monday) reading from 1 Thessalonians.  It reads, in the breviary version:
God has destined us for acquiring salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.  He died for us, that all of us, whether awake or asleep, together might live with him (5:9-10).
This passage appears at the end of Paul's first letter to the fledgling Thessalonian church, wherein he attempts to explain that those who have died previous to the second coming of Christ will also share in its glorious consequences, precisely because of their faith in Christ.

There is the sense gleaned from the position of this passage that as one prays and reflects upon this particular reading, the God who is all in all encourages us to pray with those who have come before us.  Just as clerics promise to pray the Divine Office on behalf of the People of God, so are we reminded by this particular portion of Monday Compline that we accomplish this task not only in union with all believers who remain here on earth, but also with those present within the Communion of Saints -- and quite likely those who remain assured of the vision of Christ, yet not possessing it in its fullness.

Indeed: if the Communion of Saints doesn't exist, the breviary is pointless, as would be most everything else.

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