Weird lay Catholics, like myself, voluntarily pray the Litany of the Hours in the morning. This is a specific set of Daily Prayers and Bible Readings that are prayed by Pope Francis, all the priests, all the monks, all the nuns, all the different secular orders from the Dominicans to the Carmelites, etc. in the world. Catholics have three kinds of prayer. There is our daily church service, called "The Mass." Then there is private prayer--that is meditation, reading the Bible, reflection. My Carmelite order calls this time "The Prayer of the Quiet." Then there is the structured community prayers, the Litany of the Hours, which is largely based on praying the Psalm of the Old Testament.
I used to hate Morning Prayer. My husband and I used to pray them together every morning before he left for work. I liked the feeling of praying next to him, but I hated the substance of the task we were doing. He's a melancholic and loves rules and structure. I'm a sanguine and a total free spirit. I hated the work of flipping between multiple pages and repeating these long dead words of King David which seemed to have no immediate application to my life. "Exactly when am I going to 'throw a spear into my enemy's heart' today?" I think sullenly. I used to approach Morning Prayer with the same enthusiasm I mastered for Trig my senior year in high school.
God is good! And funny! After the enforced absence caused by morning sickness, I'm attacking my Morning Prayer with vigor. Every time I pray the Litany of the Hours now, I'm so rewarded. Today's reading made my heart so happy.
The Book of Wisdom 7:13-14
Simply I learned about Wisdom, and ungrudingly do I share--
her riches I do not hide away.
For to men she is an unfailing treasure:
those who gain this treasure win the friendship of God,
to whom the gifts they have from discipline commend them.
The word that jumped out at me was "Simply." How much do I try to make my life complicated? I'm always trying to learn about God in ways that are complicated. I read a bunch of books. I go to lectures. I try big feats of virtue. It's like I don't have any confidence that I'm actually going to master the lessons of Faith--so at least I can look impressive while I study it.
I'm guilty of making Faith look too much like Law School.
"Simply I learned about Wisdom, and ungrudingly do I share--"
That second line for me is all about being a writer. Ugh! Writing is hard. It takes so much courage. Self-doubt flares up for me almost every day. "Who the hell am I to inflict my random thoughts onto someone else?"
I like the words "ungrudingly do I share." I like to write. It helps me live better. No one has to read it. I'm not inflicting my words onto random people standing next to me in the Target check-out line. That book, this blog, will be there if someone wants to read it. Reading, asking, questioning, its a choice. My job as a writer is to "ungrudingly share" the simple, plain lessons I've learned as a human being walking on this earth.
Thank you God for the exiles of Morning Sickness. Thank you King David for being both a great warrior and a great poet. You inspire me!