A Healing Table: Prayer as Natural Rhythm

In the last post was mentioned the "candlelight" experiment at Et Tu, and how it made her realize the gift of embracing natural rhythms. Since this is something i so long for in my own life, i was very interested to see how this unfolded there. She didnt end up giving up artificial light, but she did embrace the deeper gift of the candlelight, that of Vespers. What a perfect beginning....in more ancient days it was the sunsetting/moonrising that actually began the new day.

What i really liked was the realization that a daily rhythm of prayer, for example praying the Liturgy of Hours (its so amazing to know that each day others are praying this too, and that those before us have as well), helps us live with a natural rhythm. But it is much more. From here, here, and here:

"every evening at Vespers I will keep the ancient tradition of that being the prayer said at the lighting of the lamps: I will light candles, and though I will continue to keep the lights on as needed, I will use the lit candles as a symbolic gesture that the day has ended (no work tasks; except for dinner, dinner cleanup, and bath in her case)....Every day around sunset, a few minutes before I light the Vespers candles, I make a conscious decision about what will and will not get done. I finish the tasks I'm able to, and get the others to a stopping point for tomorrow."

"These days, leisurely breakfast time ends and high-energy activity time begins with Lauds (Morning Prayer) at 9:30; high-energy activity time ends and naptime/desk work begins with the Office of Readings at 2:00; and I do one final sweep to get any lingering projects to a stopping point before the whole workday comes to a close with Vespers (Evening Prayer) at 6:00. Do I always have everything done by the time prayer time rolls around? Nope...But, I have realized, such is a life of balance...The reason that pre-electricity generations spoke of a life of peaceful rhythm and natural balance is because, for example, a housewife living in 1890 couldn't do laundry at 10:00 at night if she didn't get to it during the day; that by virtue of having built-in hard stops like sunset and community-centered activities, they were forced to sacrifice a lot of the things they wanted to get done and simply rest. Mimicking this life as best I can, by allowing my day to be broken into times of work and times of rest by forces larger than myself, has indeed forced me to sacrifice a lot of the things I'd like to get done. And it has given me a life of balance.

I suppose it might technically be possible to achieve such a nice rhythm by using something other than prayer to provide hard stops; but, for me, I doubt that anything else would work. ...By anchoring my days around God by joining in with the universal prayer of the Church, by letting the rhythm of the Liturgy of the Hours be the guiding rhythm of my life, three times a day I am reminded that I only have one real to-do list, and it is short; that the little sacrifices I make to achieve balance are minuscule in the grand scheme of things; that my time is not my own anyway."

"Because of my commitment to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, every few hours I have been forced to stop everything, to snap out of my mental downward spiral, and pray. Reading the ancient Psalms, often anguished cries to God in times of great upheaval and tragedy, reminds me of how very small my troubles are in the grand scheme of things."

I am so drawn to this! And i 've been trying to pray the hours online but just can't seem to get into it that way, i need something in my hand. But its more than that too, its that the only complete offices that are online use newer Bible translations, which just drive me nuts, that zaps all the depth and poetry out. There are some nice Medieval sites that have the older more poetic Bible translations for the basic prayers (like this one does)...but not the complete daily office. And when looking for the book form.... well it's the same problem there it seems. But maybe i'm just missing it. I would love so much if anyone has any advice here...where to get a copy (if there is one) of the Liturgy of Hours that uses the original (not the revised) King James, or even better the Douay-Rheims...

(Images from here and here , respectively)

Blog Archive