Blog # 286 A Psalm shared
Yesterday morning as I was about to begin the daily experience of praying the breviary, some thoughts came to me that I wanted to share with you in a blog. I clearly remembered more than one Spiritual Director back in the days of my seminary training reminding us the prayers and readings that made up our daily use of the breviary were not the private prayer of an individual Christian believer but rather were part of the Church's official publc worship. I had assumed the responsibility and privilege of praying in the name of the entire Church at the time I was ordained for this as a subdeacon back in 1953.
Clear evidence and an invitation to be aware of this responsibility and privilege can be found in the prayer that is daily given to introduce the breviary: " Lord, open my lips. - And my mouth shall declare your praise." Even when a large community of monks or a group of priests would be praying the breviary together the official opening words do not change from my lips and my mouth to our
mouths and our lips.
The entire Church throughout the world, individuals made one in the Sacrament of Baptism in a relationshp with one another that is closer than the natural relationships that make a Frenchman close to a Frenchman, a Chinese to a Chinese, male and female to one another, husbands to wives, parents to children , children to parents and to peers in a natural human family, rich and poor, old and young, saints and sinners, sick and well, suffering and celebrating, some to continue living on earth fifty, sixty, or more years, some to 'die' tomorrow, all sharing God's everlasting infinite love made one by the Holy Spirit in the Body of Jesus the Church.
All of this is true for the monks who are identified in their dedication to praying the breviary as public worship in community. They are supported in their dedication by the faith and the beautiful sounds of their singing companions.
Diocesan, or 'secular' priests as we are sometimes labeled,
do not have the daily audible support of a monastic
community, but we do have the authenticity, opportunity, and obligation of praying the breviary daily in union with and as a blessing for the entire Church throughout the world.
I am not sure every priest sees it this way, but that is the way I learned it back sixty years ago, and it continues to be a blessing for which I am thankful every day.
The thought that got me going on this blog and I wanted to share with you came when I was praying Psalm 1. It was a special blessing for me and a genuine source of encouragement. I thought this belongs to the people as well as to me. Don't keep it to yourself. Give it to anyone who might read your blog and it might be the sort of blessing for them as it was for you.
Pray it rather than just reading it, a bit more slowly and thoughtfully than you might do if you were just reading it and see what happens. When I prayed it the other day I was praying it for you. Neither one of us knew it was precisely for you. But God knew. May it be a blessing for you!
Psalm One - true happiness.
Happy the person who follows not the counsel of the wicked Nor walks in the way of sinners, nor sits in the company of the insolent, But delights in the law of the Lord and meditates on his law day and night. He is like a tree planted near running water, That yields its fruit in due season, and whose leaves never fade. [Whatever he does prospers.] Not so the wicked, not so; They are like chaff which the wind drives way. Therefore in judgment the wicked shall not stand, nor shall sinners, in the assembly of the just. For the Lord watches over the way of the just, but the way of the wicked vanishes.