Voce mea ad Dominum

Random thoughts from an amateur theologist.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The things you realize with prayer

Even the friend who had my trust, who shared my table, has scorned me. -Psalm 41:10

I have a method to my prayer. The Church has made it rather easy for us to pray by using what is called The Divine Office or The Liturgy of the Hours. It is an ancient method of praying using the Psalms and canticles from the Old and New Testaments in a four week cycle and consists of Morning Prayer (Lauds), daytime prayer (broken into midmorning (Terce), noon (Sext), and midafternoon (None)), Evening Prayer (Vespers), the Office of Readings (Matins), and Night Prayer (Compline). Since I am not a monk living in a monastery, I don't usually manage to pray every hour every day, but most days I generally pray Lauds, Matins, Vespers, and Compline along with the Rosary. That is not to say that I don't offer spontaneous prayers to the Lord because I do, but liturgical prayer is very fulfilling.

Tonight as I was praying Vespers, Psalm 41 was the first Psalm prayed. The Psalms were written by David and are the songbook of the Jewish faith. Psalm 41 is a thanksgiving for rescue from an illness. David speaks of a friend who betrayed him, one who even ate from his table. Every time I have prayed this Psalm, I read it as though Jesus is speaking, and at verse 10 I think of Judas at the last supper. Even St. John supports this idea in his gospel (John 13:18).

Tonight as I was contemplating this verse, I suddenly realized that anyone who sins is guilty of the same thing, including me. I have eaten at the table of the Lord and myself have been guilty of betraying him through my sinful actions. So, tonight, I will examine my conscience and tomorrow present myself in the confessional and beg for mercy. That way I will be able to approach the Lord's altar with clean hands and a pure heart.

Receiving such insight is why I find praying the Divine Office so fulfilling. God's grace is a wonderful thing.


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