Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Prayer and Creation

View through Oratory window, Saint Benedict's Monastery
Sometimes getting my body to Morning Prayer is one thing, but having my entire being arrive is another matter. I've grown to treasure the fact that we begin our liturgy of hours with the awakening triple-sound of a gong, followed by a minute of standing quietly. It's amazingly easy to continue to review in my mind the daily activities I have planned during this quiet. A much needed phrase from Sister Jose Hobday, OSF, invites me into a broader space before our psalms of morning praise begin. The context of the helpful phrase is based on a story S. Jose shared about her wise mother.

When S. Jose was young she was crying because she saw a spider. Her mother quietly responded, "All creatures are your brothers and sisters. They are your friends. You must treasure all the creepies and the crawlies, the wingeds and the swimmies, the four-leggeds and the two-leggeds." After I heard this creature-litany, I found myself using the one minute quiet to thank all "creepies, crawlies, wingeds swimmies, four-leggeds and two-leggeds" for joining us in our morning praises, just by being who they are. I love the idea of being one with all of them at that moment … the wounded and the strong, the tiniest and the massive. And immediately the universe awakens … and so do I. Our Oratory is half submerged underground. Sometimes I need to smile when I think of all the worms and even rooted things vibrating with us as the sound of chant sends out its life-sustaining energy … each of us strengthening the other.

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