Monday, September 28, 2009
This makes a huge difference for me. Huge. If I'm behind on this, I feel behind on everything. Atticus gets up first (which I admit makes it easier for me) but then I'm next ... I drag myself out of bed, head straight to the shower, and then have time to get a couple things done (and a cup or two of coffee) before I wake up the girls. Then, everything -- really, everything -- goes so much better for me. For us.
St. Josemaria Escriva said:
The heroic minute. It is the time fixed for getting up. Without hesitation: a supernatural reflection and... up! The heroic minute: here you have a mortification that strengthens your will and does no harm to your body.
I'm no hero, but I know that, for me, it's a mortification I need. That may not be true for everyone, or for every schedule, or every homeschooling household. But it helps me.
And, please, please, please remember, if you are tempted to compare anything with anything, I'm in this season of life: kids who are 15, 13 and 7. No baby, no toddler, no pregnancy here ... you get me, don't you? If you've been up all night with the baby, nothing about "getting up before the kids" applies to you. Go catch a nap.
2. The Liturgy of the Hours
This is one of the things I get done before the kids are awake.
From today's Morning Prayer:
When I found your words, I devoured them; they became my joy and the happiness of my heart, Because I bore your name, O LORD, God of hosts. ~~ Jeremiah 15:16
I started praying the Liturgy of the Hours a couple of years after becoming a Catholic. (I would have bet all three of my children that I've written extensively about the Liturgy of the Hours before on this blog. But, I just did a search and I cannot find a thing. How is that possible?)
It was the Office of Readings that really captured me -- both the Psalms and the second reading of the day (usually some treasure from one of the fathers of the Church.)
Back when my spiritual director was a priest here in our parish (he has since moved away) he mentioned the Liturgy of the Hours at an RCIA meeting (I was on the team at the time.) I had never heard of it, but he talked about "praying in rhythm with the Church," and I thought, "Hmm ... that's intriguing." The next time I met with him, I asked about it and he showed me what it was, and how to use it. I fell in love with it, and especially with the richness of the Office of Readings. I didn't think the full set of books (rather pricey) was within grasp, so for awhile I used the free, online version at Universalis.com. (Note that Universalis doesn't use the official Catholic translation, but it was still a nice way for me to break into using the prayers while I looked at other option.) Then, Atticus bought me set for my birthday/Mother's Day that year. Oh, I love that man.
It took a bit of time to learn how to navigate through the books, the ribbons, the feast days and Solemnities. I remember having Father over for dinner shortly after Atticus gave me the books and I said, "I am loving the Liturgy of the Hours!" and Father said, "So, you know that today is the feast of Charles Lwanga and Companions!" and I said, "Ummm ... no. Who?"
So, he gave me another navigation lesson and I finally caught on.
I don't pray all of the hours, and I don't do it every day, but I still love the Office and Atticus and I try to start every work day with Morning Prayer together. It's amazing, fascinating and comforting to me to see how often something in the prayers applies to something that I'm praying, thinking or worrying about.
I love Night Prayer, too. Every night there is the Nunc Dimittis:
Lord, now let your servant go in peace.
Your Word has been fulfilled:
my own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people:
a light to reveal You to the nations
and the glory of your people Israel.
And there are various other Scriptures -- this is from Tuesday night prayer:
Stay sober and alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith. ~~ 1 Peter 5:8-9
And Evening Prayer gives us the Magnificat:
My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden,
For behold, henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm:
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
and the rich He has sent empty away.
He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy;
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to His posterity forever.
Awhile back, Melanie did some marvelous posts about the Liturgy of the Hours that I highly recommend. You can find them here and here (and the second one is full of links, details, recommendations, great stuff.) One other source (I can't remember if Melanie mentioned it) is The Magnificat. This little magazine/prayer book is an easy and beautiful way to start.
Like Melanie, I have fallen in and out of use of the Liturgy of the Hours, but I always come back to it. It's an anchor.