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5
Sep

Midday Prayer at New Life

Posted on September 5th, 2012

The following is the Midday Office I led with our staff team this afternoon. Enjoy. Stillness and Silence – 2 minutes to be still, centering our hearts and minds on God. First Reading: Ps. 130 Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD;  O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?   But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.My soul waits for the Lord, more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. Second Reading  – Luke 10:38-42 38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Devotional Reading – Based on Father Dominic’s Conferences, St. Joseph’s Abbey People mistakenly think that contemplation is to be the possession of a few gifted or favored few. Yet in reality, it is a basic root in all human beings. As Douglas Steere has written, “the stub of contemplation” exists in every person.  Yet is much more than a separate act or a separate place or a separated time with God. Acts of genuine contemplation are meant to be carried on as a dimension of other activities – rather than a special effort or project. It is a matter of going off auto-pilot, especially in interpersonal relationships and nature. It is a perceptive listening to one another in community life or professional life as an act of contemplation. Contemplation doesn’t take place on the edge of life but in the very center of it. It is a matter of stopping for a second and glancing at the sky, or a face, or listening to the rain or wind. To lift our eyes in such a way is to be searched, changed, and transformed by God – a God who contemplates us. Without this we are not wholly conscious or alive. It can be, and it needs to be, practiced by all. There is an old Asian saying, “Stillness (in the sense of openness to the unplanned flow of life) is returning to one’s roots.” As we struggle to get through the day, with all its pressures, does it ever occur to us to “let life do it,” in the sense of “let the day shape the work,” rather than “let the work shape the day?” That would be a different way of living, a “contemplative” way. Marius Grout, a French Quaker said it well: “I believe in the influence of silent and radiant people, and I say to myself that such individuals are rare. They nevertheless give savor to the world. Nothing will be lost so long as such people continue to exist.” Silence – 7 minutes Bring to God one activity or meeting you are involved in today that causes you some anxiety. Where are you “distracted,” “upset,” and “worried” like Martha? Breathe deeply, letting it go to Jesus, positioning yourself like Mary to listen at His feet to what He is doing and saying. What might it look like for you to be a contemplative while you are doing that activity? The Lord’s Prayer

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