Your word is a lantern to my feet *
and a light upon my path.
And so Vigils are concluded.
Benedict's Rule 9:11 (Chittister, Pg. 104)
Prayer is not something that is done to us or on us under any conditions. It is meant to engage us wholly -- our minds, our bodies, and our souls -- whatever its form. It is not a passive exercise. It is the work of God in us, and it demands our full attention.With such a short quote from the rule, it is not my intent to make light of the importance of early morning prayer. While I have not (yet) been in a place where Vigils is said at 2:00 AM, I have been in a monastery where it is said at 5:00 AM. There is something profound about being in the chapel with a number of monks chanting the Psalms before light enters the windows of the chapel. While I am not usually reading Morning Prayer at 5:00 AM, or reading full Vigils I endeavor to start my day in prayer...
Chittister, Pg. 105
As I think of prayer starting before (or in the summer "with") the dawn I think of prayer engaging my whole self. Does my life become a life of prayer? Do I end the day in prayer, with the realization that my day has been constantly in prayer with God? This not how I normally feel. Yes I want this, and yes I hear and read about life being prayer. While on some days my habits and my day may approach this, I certainly question all the times I don't feel prayerful.
Regardless, I am on this path, and it is not my trying that succeeds, rather it is God, who provides the work, and the prayer, that becomes a lantern to my feet and a light on my path.
A Note To Anyone Reading:This entry is part of a series that is developing as I read The Rule of Benedict, A Spirituality for the 21st Century, Joan Chittister, OSB, Crossroads, 2010. I am offering this both to those at St. George's Episcopal Church, Arlington VA, that may be reading this book and to anyone that is interested.
Unless stated otherwise quotes from St. Benedict's Rule are from the translation in this same book.Psalms are from The Book of Common Prayer, The Episcopal Church, 1979 unless otherwise noted.
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