i love the daily office. i suppose that i've fallen for that typical protestant glorification of monastic life that just does not match its lived reality. but i've read thomas merton's seven story mountain. i felt with him the draw of silence, of a serious contemplation that yet so fully engages the world. he found that at the abbey of gethsemani, kentucky.
but i'm a married lutheran pastor with two children, and i love it. i work in an office at an ecumenical divinity school and i love it. so, where does my monastic impluse go? into keeping the liturgy of the hours in daily life. the hours are rooted in the call of the palms: " I call out to God who rescues me; morning, noon, and night I plead my case." (55:17). the liturgy of the hours is, as sister joan chittister, osb, argues, an especially important form of prayer because its timed intervals call us to prayer when we're ready and especially when we're not.
But praying the hours can become, as martin luther and many others have warned, a clanging symbol and not true prayer. so, i try to be attentive to when something captures my imagination and there i dwell in prayer, sometimes not even finishing the prayers. i just dwell.
and since i like to sing, this flight of prayer often happens when i run across language (usually psalms) that are a song i like. it happened this noon as i prayed the midday office. i came across a line from psalm 31:3 'lead me, guide me' and then psalm 25:1 'to you, o lord, i lift up my soul'. how do you pray? what is helpful to keep prayer integrated in daily life? post a comment or email me.
sing, pray, my soul. morning, noon, and night.
anon, and +peace