A Healing Table: Exploring the "Morning Offering"

I was out again the other evening with the owls again, thinking... well, i'm a "night owl" anyway and tend to feel more joyful and alive when the sun winds down. So Vespers, i think i really can embrace that. Maybe already do in part.... watching the sunset, lighting the candle, that stuff already happens. It wouldnt be a stretch to add the evening prayer on a regular basis and timely dinner so that that sunset can be watched following an after dinner walk. Not a stretch really, and it seems to be slowly happening. But now Morning prayer...well, i'm not exactly a morning person, don't seem to get my "bearings" till later often, i just have to kind of cost on automatic pilot awhile. But something has given me real inspiration for reorienting the mornings, really making concrete the "Morning Offering". Its from Et Tu again (wow has her journey here been inspiring), from here:

"Some of the most amazing, powerful insights I've ever heard on this subject (of seeking God always, Even first thing in the morning) came from a book I recently finished called He Leadeth Me by Fr. Walter Ciszek. (From it:)

'The simple soul who each day makes a morning offering of "all the prayers, works, joys and suffering of this day" -- and who then acts upon it by accepting unquestioningly and responding lovingly to all the situations of that day as truly sent by God -- has perceived with an almost childlike faith the profound truth about the will of God.

To predict what God's will is going to be, to rationalize about what his will must be, is at once a work of human folly and yet the subtlest of all temptations. The plain and simple truth is that his will is what he actually wills to send us each day, in the way of circumstances, places, people, and problems. [...]

The answer lies in understanding that it is these things -- and these things alone, here and now, at this moment -- that truly constitute the will of God.'

I am a sort of living testament to this concept. I can't tell you how many times I've been engrossed in some great spiritual book, only to be interrupted by some unexpected chaos with the kids. And my immediate reaction is to think, "Would you kids be quiet! I'm trying to seek God's will here!" sighing that if only I wasn't so bogged down with my household responsibilities that I could really start getting in tune with God. If only I didn't have to change this diaper and deal with that temper tantrum and clear all those dishes off the table I could get closer to finding out what it is that God wills for me!

It's been quite stunning, then, for me to realize that changing that diaper and dealing with the temper tantrum and clearing those dishes are God's will. These are the situations that God puts in front of me every day. If I see them through my eyes alone, holding out for God to reveal to me that "his" will is all about me writing that bestselling book or the lottery win (that just so happen to be big fantasies of mine), I grumble through the mundane tasks of my day. And when I do this, when I apathetically plop a dish into the sink or huff and puff about having to sweep the kitchen floor for the second time today, I am essentially saying, "I will not serve." I'm refusing to accept that these humdrum tasks just might be the answers to all my questions about what God wants me to do.

But to see all these diapers and temper tantrums and dishes through God's eyes, to humbly go about my day executing each task with love, appreciating every moment and every little thing around me as a precious gift, is to know and serve God, to do his will. I don't need to analyze it beyond that. I have my answer.

Fr. Ciszek says it best:

'To seek to discover some other and nobler "will of God" in the abstract that better fits our notion of what his will should be...was our temptation [in Russia], just as it is the temptation faced by everyone who suddenly discovers that life is not what he expected it to be. The answer lies in understanding that it is these things -- and these things alone, here and now, at this moment -- that truly constitute the will of God...The trouble is that like all great truths it seems too simple.

Its very simplicity renders it almost impossible of human achievement, for our poor human nature is too easily distracted. The very circumstances of our lives -- so constant and so humdrum and routine, and yet the things that truly constitute the will of God for us each day -- are also the very things that serve to distract us, precisely because we are so involved with them. [...]

And yet to grasp this divine truth, as simple as it sounds, and work at it, to face each moment of every day in the light of its inspiration...is to come to know at last true joy and peace of heart, secure in the knowledge we are attempting always and in everything to do God's will, the only purpose for which we exist, the end for which alone we were created. There is no greater security a man could ask, no greater serenity a man could know.'

WOW. This is another one i just keep reading over and over...becuase there is such deep truth there, you can feel it.

Its funny, i had a dream last night that i'm remembering now. In real life i have this really cute light blue jacket, one that makes me feel "like me" and that My Prince really loves to see too. In the dream, i had been at a gathering in a little book store, taken off my jacket, and somehow it got lost. The owners of the bookstore (a couple) tried helping me look for it. After looking fruitlessly awhile the wife stopped and said "You know, i've been waiting for the right time to give this jacket (she pointed to a closet it was in) to someone. Its an aerial jacket, antique, grey, really warm..." I didnt hear all she said becuase the thought of replacing my light blue jacket, the one that felt like "me", was unthinkable. I was about to say so when something stopped me, and i just couldnt say it. Instead i thanked her for the grey jacket, said i'd be happy to accept it if we didnt find the blue one, but that i'd like to look awhile more for the blue one first. And so we did, and then i went off on my own and looked too, a stressful wild goose chase becuase that blue jacket was just nowhere to be found. Neither was its matching scarf either.

When i woke up i realized that that grey jacket was a gift. A gift i resisted becuase it felt too much like a uniform, like something that wasnt showing "me" as an individual like the blue jacket does but rather just one of many, like one cloud in a sky. Its funny because in my head i really love that thought of a uniform, to me its like being an ancient Old Testament scribe copying the Law with joy and beauty, or like being the maker of a sacred icon (icons are "written" like copying a manuscript, rather that being an individual creation...its just another way of being true to the ancient (not the corrupted as it had become by New Testament times) way of the scribe. Yet in the dream i resisted.

I realized later how in the dream i had been wearing a sweater the same color of the lost jacket...so i hadnt lost the core of me really, the core that God had given to form and guide ( i believe He does this for each of us, gives us different natures and burning desires and the like for a reason, to guide each person in the way He would chooose). And yet losing the blue jacket did mean something, it meant exchanging trying to stand out as an individual into wearing a uniform jacket instead, a uniform, an ancient antique uniform at that, feeling like the uniform of our ancestors as well, a uniform of...an aviator. Reminding that we are all on a journey, on pilgrimage here, "aviators". Anyway, something about this dream feels connected to this draw to praying the hours. Praying the hours is a uniform. And despite the long time draw i've been resisting it... for the very same reasons i resisted donning the grey jacket in the dream. Still uncovering those reasons. But most of all praying for their healing...

Added later: This poem from Laure of Sometimes...it holds the blessing of the Morning Offering so deeply. From here...

when waking
is no longer a choice
and dreams
no longer speak
let the damp
be the washing bowl
and the swollen grass,
the cloth
set before you.

in His hands,
even the dawn
humbles itself
to give
what it can
to serve you

(Images adapted from a picture found here)

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