Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Morning, Noon, and Night

Just like other students, I, too, returned to class in the new year.

This time the subject is the Psalms. You see, the Psalms are one of the biggest parts of monastic life. Praying the Liturgy of the Hours is how we pray as a community, which means that over the course of five weeks we pray just about every Psalm together. We pray three times a day, though there are traditionally seven times for prayer in a single day.

In my class, we have talked about the image of the Psalms seeping into our bones, allowing them to slowly become part of us. It is a beautiful image of gradual conversion.

With one hundred fifty psalms from which to choose, it is hard to choose a favorite as I am being exposed to them in a much more intimate way than ever before. I used to have (and still probably do have) a personal fondness for Psalm 27, but the simplicity of 131 speaks to me tonight. Here is Nan Merrill's take:

Most gracious Presence, let me not
          be arrogant,
     nor boast of my virtuous deeds;
Let me not seek fame or set my heart
     on the riches of the world.
Help me to calm and quiet my soul,
     like a child quieted at its
          mother's breast;
     like a child that is quieted,
          be so my soul.

I shall be at peace in You,
          O Breath of my breath,
     from this time forth and
          forevermore.
                Amen.

Do you have a favorite Psalm? Feel free to share with me!

Let us walk in the holy presence.