Monday, February 23, 2015

Feb 23 - Patterns and Hope

Even my best friend, whom I trusted,
who broke bread with me, *
has lifted up his heel and turned against me.
Psalm 41:9
Four psalms are sung each day at Vespers...
Benedict's Rule 18:12 (Chittister, Pg. 126)
...Benedict wants us to learn and say daily and never forget...
Chittister, Pg. 127
We are in the middle of a section of the rule most useful to monastics living in community. What do we, who are not living in full-time Benedictine communities, that do not break to pray together all seven hours every day, take from this? Sister Joan says later that we should develop a "full spiritual palate", that we need regular recitation and "total immersion" in the Psalms. We can use the Psalms to ground us in the faith. We develop a pattern of reading and praying. The pattern I use, from the daily office Lectionary in the prayer book of the Episcopal Church, reads all the Psalms in a seven week cycle. With this pattern we see each Psalm about seven times each year.

Today, for example, I read Psalms 41 and 52. I read Psalms 41 and 52 in late January (the seven week cycle was abridged as Lent interrupted the previous cycle). The verse that spoke to me today was harsher than the one that spoke to me in January. This is the cycle of Psalms in action. I don't think my life, or my point of view, is gloomier than before, just that today I recognize a different part of God's word. No friend has lifted their heel and turned against me, but by reading that verse I am reminded that even should my friends one day abandon me, I still have the Lord. God holds me even should I have no earthly friends. A prayer around this is that I remember God is with me whenever I feel abandoned.

A Note To Readers:

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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