Yesterday was my first attempt at doing all four offices: The Morning Office, The Midday Office, Vespers, and The Night Office, using Phyllis Tickle's The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime. I managed to fit in all of them, and truthfully, it wasn't very hard. It isn't a major time commitment, actually. The experience, and perhaps at some point the difficulty of doing the offices, is the discipline of stopping, just stopping, to read and to pray. I imagine that scheduling will be difficult sometimes, too. Yesterday, for example, I realized that The Midday Office is supposed to be done between 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. I knew that I would be gone from 11-ish - 4-ish, but when we left for church at 11:10 I just read through The Midday Office in the car while pretending to be deaf so that I could get it read during the 10-minute drive to church. Worked just fine. Especially the pretending to be deaf part. I should mention here that I am supposed to do each office on the hour or half hour. I am not even going to try to attempt that. Not even try. That just isn't do-able. I will fail at that goal at least 87% of the time, and then I will quit. I think God was OK with hearing morning prayers at 6:36 this morning. I certainly hope so anyway.
I journaled a bit last night about my experience yesterday, and I will share some of that here:
First, about the fact that I even have a blog...
I started a blog. I posted my first entry last night. I feel excited and exposed and vulnerable and defiant and scared and hopeful. We'll see.
And then I moved on to share about the day's experience...
It has gone well. I was excited to get up this morning to read and pray. I wanted to do this right away, but then, of course, Jack wanted breakfast, and coffee had yet to be made, and Matt was playing music that was a bit irking and distracting, and it took me a while to get outside with my book. I decided that instead of doing The Morning Office while seething about the fact that Matt was playing annoying music that I would just ask him if we could pause his music for a few minutes. He said "yes," of course. That was difficult. Why can't he be a little more accommodating? ;) But then when I went outside to our front porch he followed me with his journal. I started to read to myself, and then he asked me to read aloud, so I did. I spent much of the time being preoccupied at what Matt was thinking and wishing that the reading seemed a little less traditional and a little more profound. I feared that he wasn't impressed. It was fine, though.
I did Vespers at around 5:00 this evening. I had just returned from my Aunt May's 100th birthday party, and I was spent. It was nice to see everyone today, but it wore me out. After I got home I decided to unload the dishwasher, and I was kind of cranky about it, but then I decided I would do Vespers instead. So I sat out here on my side porch in the heat and read through the Vespers reading. I could hear Jack having problems with the video game he was playing on the computer, and I didn't want to help him. I didn't want to be interrupted!!! I wanted to be left alone so that I could pray--damn it!!! Lovely. Anyway, so I finished. As I sat there I figured that Vespers was going to change me and that I would probably go back into the house and be more peaceful and wouldn't it be nice to blog about that? Only I wasn't more peaceful. I was, if possible, crankier.
However, I would still count today as a success.
I will try not to bore you to death with journal entries, but I thought yesterday's was a better description of my day than I might be able to concoct this morning.
Today I am going to take the kids to library, where I hope to sit there and read a bit about the history of liturgical prayer. What is, in fact, going to happen is that I will help Jack with his strange book requests and play the game he likes to play of using the library's approximately thirteen magnetic letters to spell words for him. (They seriously need to invest in more magnetic letters. Perhaps I should request when I contribute my next library fine check that they use my donation to purchase a complete set of letters. Two sets would be nice.) But maybe I will get to soak up five minutes worth of reading on the history of liturgical prayer. I have a feeling that I have much to learn. I just sort of threw myself into this experiment with absolutely no knowledge.
Oh! But I do have something exciting I want to share. I made a wishy-washy promise early in the summer that I was going to do a 48-hour retreat at Conception Abbey. And it hit me yesterday this is the month to do that, of course! I'm scared to death! But excited too. I suppose the best way for me to learn about liturigcal prayer might just be to live it!
I will finish today with the prayer that concludes every Morning Office:
Lord God, almighty and everlasting Father, you have brought me in safety to this new day: Preserve me with your mighty power, that I may not fall into sin, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose; through Jesus Christ my Lord, Amen.