February 25, June 26, October 26
Chapter 19: On the Manner of Saying the Divine Office
We believe that the divine presence is everywhere
and that "the eyes of the Lord
are looking on the good and the evil in every place" (Prov. 15:3).
But we should believe this especially without any doubt
when we are assisting at the Work of God.
To that end let us be mindful always of the Prophet's words,
"Serve the Lord in fear" (Ps. 2:11)
and again "Sing praises wisely" (Ps. 46:8)
and "In the sight of the Angels I will sing praise to You" (Ps.
Let us therefore consider how we ought to conduct ourselves
in sight of the Godhead and of His Angels,
and let us take part in the psalmody in such a way
that our mind may be in harmony with our voice.
How many times a day do we remember the presence of God (let alone
forget it!!) I have had to call myself awake to it many more times in
this morning than I care to brag about. We can never be totally
mindful of God's omnipresence without the gift of His grace, but we
can work with that grace a LOT better than most of us do.
Speaking ashamedly for myself- and perhaps many others as well, alas-
I know that one reason we so easily forget God's presence is because
it is uncomfortable to us. We ARE that different from God! It is not
always consoling to think of Him being right there. All one has to do
it read the accounts of Adam and Eve in Genesis to learn that this
discomfort is a very primeval human trait!
Hence, the practice of the presence of God is a two-edged sword. Yes,
it delights us when we sometimes realize we are not alone and never
will be. But it also shames us with our misery and wretchedness,
embarrasses us with our sins that we cling to, regardless of Who's
watching! We will be comfortable in God's presence solely to the
degree that we realize His love and unfathomable mercy. Only in the
mercy of God does His glance become something other than fearful,
other than withering. Only in His mercy does that tenderness, that
infinite caress of a Mother become evident.
In that mercy, we can dwell with Him in great peace! Without it, the
times when His being around will annoy or shame us are not likely to
be few. But His mercy IS infinite and He will give us better trust
and knowledge, if only we ask!
Love and prayers,
St. Mary's Monastery Petersham, MA