21 May 2013

The Graces of Midday Prayer

Yesterday, my guardian called me to ask a question and I didn't pick up the phone.

I called him back, apologizing, "Sorry for not picking up, I was praying midday prayer."

"You'll be ready to be a deacon," he responded.

The reference here was clear: upon entrance into the clerical state, one is obligated by law to pray the entirety of the Liturgy of the Hours -- the Office of Readings, Morning Prayer, one of the three midday hours, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer.  I'm well aware of this fact and have been attempting to disciple myself to pray along with the Church through the Divine Office for some time now

Quite often I've found the discipline of the midday hours to be just that: a discipline that reminds me of my coming promises and my obligation to pray for and with the people of God precisely because I have promised to do so.

And then, I get an afternoon such as this (Tuesday of Week III [of the four-week psalter]), and I realize that I'm not just praying for others, I myself am being embiggened by the prayer of the Church.

How so?

Because we get antiphons such as these:
Law finds its fulfillment in love.
Lord, remember your people, whom you chose from the beginning.
Rise up, Lord; defend  your cause.
And then, a reading that pierces the heart:
Injure not the poor because they are poor, nor crush the needy at the gate; for the Lord will defend their cause, and will plunder the lives of those who plunder them (Proverbs 22:22-23).
Thanks, Holy Mother Church for making me pray: for my own good.


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