Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The Matter At Hand. . .
For the last several years, Jen and I have been praying the Liturgy of the Hours together. It's a Catholic form of daily prayer (sometimes called the Holy Office), consisting of Psalms and Scripture readings, the Lord's Prayer, and some general intercessions. There are Morning and Evening prayers, and 'lesser' forms for mid-day and bedtime. We have mainly prayed the Morning Prayers together; for the most part, the Evening Prayers haven't fit into our schedule very well. Two or three years ago, we started having the kids join us for Morning Prayers. We had a few 'false starts', where we struggled to get it well and truly established as a family pattern, but it eventually 'took hold'. Every morning (or at least most of them), we gather around the breakfast table at 6:45; some of the kids will gather around Jen, and the rest with me, and we pray the psalms antiphonally. It takes about 15 minutes, and fits really well into our morning family schedule, even as we're all getting ready for our work or school days. Just recently, Jen has been wanting for us to find a way to pray the Evening Prayers, as well. It would be nice, I suppose, to incorporate them into the dinnertime pattern, but we have so many people going in so many directions around, and just after, the dinner hour, that it just doesn't work. So, Jen and I decided to start small, and the two of us have tried to pray the Evening Prayers together at bedtime. . . ------------------------- Now Jen (like many women, I've come to find) likes chocolate, in small doses, as a kind of 'comfort food'. She keeps a little stash of dark chocolate chips under her side of the bed, and is fond of grabbing a handful to munch as she does her bedtime reading and 'winding down'. It's not a huge big deal for her; it's not an every-night thing, and she doesn't even exclusively nosh on chocolate; sometimes she'll grab a handful of marshmallows, or a granola bar. But the chocolate chips are her favorite. . . (I know this seems kinda non-sequitur-ish, but bear with me. . .) ------------------------- So, as I said, we just recently decided to start praying the Evening Prayers together at bedtime. I came to bed, and Jen handed me the prayer book. We sat together, and she prayed one of the antiphonal parts, and I prayed the other, and it was rich and good. I imagine that, as long as we're not just dead-tired at the end of the day (which, sometimes, we are; and whatcha gonna do?), it'll be good, and we'll manage to make it a regular pattern, in the fullness of time. So, when we had finished with the prayers, I handed Jen the prayer book, for her to put it back away. "Oh - could you put it away for me?" she asked. Which was a little odd, since it was stashed on her side of the bed, and I would have to either crawl over her, or get out of bed and walk around. I looked a bit askance at her; she looked back at me sheepishly, and opened her hand. . . . . . which was covered, about a quarter-inch thick, with melted chocolate. "I didn't want to be munching on chocolate chips while we were praying," she explained. . . My wife is an utterly delightful woman. . . And very pious, besides. . .