Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Praying the Psalms

Since I began praying the Daily Office as part of the daily rhythms of the Community of the Holy Trinity I have been taking a journey of learning what it means to pray the psalms. Initially it was the struggle of feeling like I often was praying things that were not my feelings, or that did not match my life. Praying the Psalms was at first uncomfortable and ill fitting. I chafed at some of the violent language and the language of desiring God to save from and triumph over enemies. Aren't we called to love our enemies. Then I began to appreciate in a general sense how the Psalms expressed deep and a wide variety of human emotion and was even able to allow myself in praying the Divine Office to feel those emotions even if I didn't feel that way.

At some point I was able to admit that the violence and the emotions I wished to avoid when praying the Psalms were in me and were things from which I tried to hide and ignore. Once I accepted that these weren't just human emotions in general, but my own unwanted and troubling emotions I was able to offer more and more of myself to God in my prayers.

Overtime I began to find certain Psalms deeply intimate conversation with God, that somehow addressed and gave me words to address to God about my circumstances or a worry or concern. The Psalms were becoming deeply personal: others words that had been prayed by the saints who have gone before that gave me a language to offer my life up to God in ways that my own words could never communicate or express.

I have been living here for awhile, and it is hard to believe I at one time saw the Psalms as foreign strange and at times even repulsive they became my words of prayer to God.

Something happened this Ash Wednesday I stopped praying the Psalms for myself, and as I have been praying the Psalms since then I have been praying them for others. As I begin to pray the Psalm I have found a person or persons coming to mind and a sense that this Psalm is not only my prayer for them but their deepest prayer, that they may never think to pray for themselves. I now think it have some inkling of how one can pray the Psalter ones entire life, even praying the whole of the psalter each month or even over a week. I have stumbled upon a great mystery, something that makes me tremble a bit if I attempt to contemplate it to long. I haven't prayed for myself since Ash Wednesday. I trust that others are praying for me in ways that I could never do on my own. And this is the reality of the Church the Body of Christ, I have come to experience how Divine Office is the prayer of the church.