Many winters ago, there was a sad popular song which described our political situation at that time. The words went something like this: “It’s been a long and cold December kind of day. With our hearts and hands all busy in our private little wars, we stand and watch each other now from separate shores; we lose the way.” I want to weep when I think of the truth of that song just as applicable for this day, this month, this year! And yet, from my readings, ponderings, prayer, I keep noticing the word--”relationships”— reappearing over and over again! What has happened? Have we somehow lost the importance of relationships in our struggle to hold on to what we fight for? Might we be able to leave “our separate shores” and “find our way again,” if we kept that one word in our consciousness?
Daily we pray the Divine Office at 7 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 7 p.m. We are the mouthpiece of the church for the world. We stand in silence preparing to chant the psalmody and listen to the Word of God. We pray the words of Abbot Marmion that give direction to our reason for coming together as a Benedictine community three times a day, day in and day out. Did you know that you are included in that preparation and actual prayer? Listen to what we say:
Before beginning the Divine Office,
let me cast a glance over the whole world:
leaders of churches and world religions,
monastics and contemplatives, missionaries
and those who teach and preach
the good News of Jesus Christ,
leaders of nations, the sick, the dying, prisoners,
the poor, the homeless, the lonely and discouraged,
all who are suffering in mind or body,
children of the world, sinners who wish to return to God
but are weighed down by their chains,
those who work for peace with justice
and long to grow in God’s divine love and compassion –
for at this moment we are the mouth of the whole church . . .
I find Christ in everything and everywhere.
Christ is the Alpha and Omega of all.
I am so restless in myself and so rich in Christ.
To God be all glory forever!
Do come to join us . . . or in whatever corner of Mother Earth you find yourself, be blessed and be a blessing as you lift your mind and heart to God. The whole world awaits our prayer . . . and whether we recognize it or not, we no longer want to stand on our separate shores; we want to find a way back to God and that, with one another! Relationships matter!
Renée Domeier, OSB