“I did not even reflect how the Breviary, the Canonical Office, was the most powerful and effective prayer I could have possibly chosen , since it is the prayer of the whole Church, and concentrates in itself all the power of the Church’s impetration, centered around the infinitely mighty Sacrifice of the Mass – the jewel of which the rest of the Liturgy is the setting: the soul which is the life of the whole Liturgy and of all the Sacramentals. ….
Yes, and from the secret places of His essence, God began to fill my soul with grace in those days, grace that sprung from deep within me, I could not know how or where. But yet I would be able, after not so many months, to realize what was there, in the peace and the strength that were growing in me through my constant immersion in this tremendous, unending cycle of prayer, ever renewing its vitality, it’s inexhaustible, sweet energies, from hour to hour, from season to season in its returning round. And I, drawn into that Atmosphere, into that deep, vast universal movement of vitalizing prayer, which is Christ praying in men to His Father, could not help but being at last to live, and to know that I was alive.”
I want to write like Thomas Merton.. Taken from his Seven Storey Mountain, this so vey eloquently describes my experience of praying the Divine Office these last eighteen months or so.
The seasons change, I move from chilly icy winter mornings before work to warm and snug summer evenings, from a snatched prayer in my bedroom to quiet prayer in a church, to praying the Office relaxing on the green sofa.
And the time passes I feel the daily prayers, joining with the mind of the Church, the prayer if the Church, praying with others praying the Office throughout the world. I feel it. I mentally comprehend it. My soul stirs. My heart softens . And I let down those little barriers. The ones I build to protect myself, to stop being vulnerable to hurt. As if those barriers are always a good thing.
These fences come down. Bit by bit, as I pray the Office, the Psalms, as I ponder the Readings.
Of course, my daily life happens. And the little walls start building again, to protect myself and to protect others.
But I come back each morning, each night, to the Divine Office. And the scales, the walls, the fences, the barriers, are removed once again.
And that’s why a mother should pray the Office. Even if prayed imperfectly.
For the chance to know and adore God and to know and love others and to know herself.
For His Grace in her every day, never stopping life.