30 August 2008

Emptying ourselves to pray in the name of the Church

A reflection on praying the Divine Office by Mother Maria-Michael Newe, OSB.

When we come to pray, it's important that we empty ourselves. As Benedictine nuns we have statio*-- that's a very important time for us. It must be a time in which we empty ourselves of ourselves-- of our cares, our jobs, everything we're doing. Our hearts have to be empty because when we pray the Divine Office, we don't pray our own words. We pray the psalms, and we must be empty enough that our hearts can take up the psalms as if they were our own, because we pray as the Church before the throne of God. The psalms carry every person in the world, every emotion, every situation.

Mary prayed the psalms, Christ prayed the psalms! When we pray the psalms, it's the Holy Spirit within us praying. But if we're not empty, how can that happen?

*Statio is the five minutes before Vespers which the nuns use to recollect themselves before entering the Church to pray.

07 August 2008

Fr. Perren Hayes on the Daily Office

I highly recommend everything Fr. Perren Hayes writes on his blog, and this entry is a particular highlight.

04 August 2008

Constants for human guidance

I'm reading Tilden Edwards' Spiritual Friend: Reclaiming the Gift of Spiritual Direction:

The records of Jesus' ministry marked the path of spiritual guidance taken throughout the Church's history. Through a great variety of forms, there have been these constants:
  • a sense of serving and sharing with rather than "lording it over" another
  • a sense of confidence in human capacity and calling to be in contact with the Holy, and to mediate it to one another through word, sacrament, and deed
  • an integral relation of moral and spiritual development
  • a vision of bearing, struggling hope in the final reconciliation of all creation in its intimate Source
  • a willingness to work with all sorts and conditions of people, one to one, in groups, in crowds, near and far
  • a valuation of ritual/sacramental means of grace: bread and wine, water, hands, and words of reconciliation.

These "constants" for human guidance, I believe, are as much living waters for us today as two thousand years ago.

[p. 41]