Morning Prayer

I haven’t been spending time with the Lord for nearly a week now. Oh I have been to Mass, said Grace at mealtimes, offered thanks throughout the day and shot arrows in His direction, but serious-early-in-the-morning-before-my-day-begins prayer, that has not been part of my day. My prayer space sits cold, empty and waiting, silently reproaching me for not being there.
Because most mornings I just want to sleep.

I grew up believing that to be holy one prayed in the morning, and I can see the sense in that, spending time in prayer before the day begins has a certain calmness about it. I know from experience that when I do pray regularly it sets my day up right. That’s not to say I behave like a model citizen or that my day swims along perfectly but that sometimes I am better able to focus on what is important. When I spend time with God I regret less.

CS Lewis, prayer

All the Spiritual writers I’ve read set time aside at the beginning of the day to pray so too those of my friends who I deem most in touch with their living faith. So yet again I resolve to do the same.
It all started off so well, and then I remember that that was before the start of the school term.

In term time it is all so different. I hit the ground running at 6am, calling child number 4 for school. This lovely, wonderful, funny child can not get up and out in the morning. It is not simply a case of ‘not being a morning person’ but that her body and mind take an extra long time to warm up. She is also a school refuser. So mornings in our house are hard work. Wrapped in a blanket with a cup of tea, I sit on the stairs outside her room constantly cajoling, calling, questioning as to how far she has got, through her closed bedroom door. If it sounds like nagging that’s because it is! If I stop for more than 2 minutes she has drifted off into her own world, sitting up with her eyes open.
Haste is not a concept she understands, time has no meaning in her world. It can take 20 minutes to put on a pair of socks. It drives me to despair.
When I finally get her out the door all I want to do is crawl back into bed and sleep. And sometimes I do, I choose to sleep rather than pray. The spirit is willing but the flesh? My flesh is oh so weak.

(Guiltily) I am aware of the Lord gently calling me, reminding me of His presence, waiting for me through the pushed-to door of my heart, the business of my mind and tired, weary body.
Morning after morning He invites me to spend time with Him, calling not nagging.
Throughout the day He continues to call me back to Him, my constant companion, he doesn’t desert me or get driven to despair at my lack of haste. He waits for me, because He knows that I do want to spend time with Him, but that whilst not quite a refuser, I find term-time morning prayer difficult.

I do believe that setting aside a regular time to pray is what I need if my relationship with the One who loves me is to deepen and grow but that it doesn’t have to be in the morning! The adage that we must pray as we can not as we should still holds true and of course that to pray all we have to do is turn up…

The psalmist tells me that to sleep in the presence of God is a good thing and the Gospel writers tell us of the disciples sleeping in the Garden so I know I am in good company and I offer it up…again.

praying-at-gethsemane-240px

And by offering it up, through the haze of tiredness and the grace of God I see the connection, it just took me a little while.

A candelabra or a companion for my days

I have been coveting a candelabra . It has 10 glass holders arranged in the shape of a star. the shop in Crystal Palace has reduced it since Christmas but it still a pricey for a frivolous item.
So although I go in about twice a week to check the price I have so far resisted the temptation to buy it.
I have, however, bought 2 other things which I realise have tried to replace the candelabra. A table runner and a scarf, both of which I will use, both of which are beautiful, both of which were reduced and both of which I did not need.
If I had not bought them I would have almost had enough for the candelabra, although the runner and scarf are easier to store.

star blog
As I dwelt on my desire I was reminded of a book I read many, many years ago ‘Fat is a Feminist Issue’. Somewhere among its pages it argues for giving in to one’s desires, and here I paraphrase ‘if you want a Mars bar eat a Mars bar, because if you don’t you will only fulfil the craving with other chocolate bars and thus end up eating more.’
I applied this concepts to my own desire and buying habits; despite the runner and the scarf I still desire the candelabra.
A deeper dwelling called me to examine what it was I wanted by buying things in the first place; as I said I didn’t need any of them.
Thinking back I realised that sometime over the last couple of weeks I had fallen without realising into a grief hole. Every once in a while the grief that I mostly kept at bay rises up and surprises me rather than overwhelms me. I am always surprised that I grief is still part of my life and I am learning to let it be a companion on the journey rather than suppress it.
There is nothing specific on which this grief is based, rather it is an amalgamation of all griefs, some big and others small, some still raw and others long since forgotten. It results in me trying to connect, reaching out, flailing around, buying frivolous things that I don’t need.

What was I was trying to fill?

Then this popped in to my inbox completing the circuit and lights shone.

*God and Creator of my soul, I feel lonely.
I want another person to talk to,
someone who understands the struggle it is to pray sometimes,
someone who values what I value: faith and true virtue and holy work to heal the world.
I am weary of hearing only my voice and contemplating only my thoughts about you.
If another person could hear my thoughts and then speak to them—that would be a lovely, restorative experience.
Sometimes Divine presence is so much sweeter when it is shared.
If it is your will, please send a companion for these days.

A companion for my days, Oh yes please.

 

*From Days of Deepening Friendship. Friday Reflection: Keeping Good Company for Your Soul

Ordinary time…again

I have resolved to start blogging again and to try to keep it going for a little longer this time! Therefore I offer once again this post from last year to start me off…

This is my daughter, the beloved, my favour rests on  you.

And with that wonderfully scary affirmation Ordinary Time begins.

I love Ordinary Time. There is a comfort in the rhythm, the same-ness; time to go deeper, to bed down, once more in routine; seeing God in the everyday, a time to hone our Sacramental Imagination.

Ordinary Time is where we live who we are, a time to live baptismally. This week I came across the following poem (with my slight adaptation!) which I loved immediately. I loved the way it challenged me to move out of Christmas, not leaving it behind but taking it with me.

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:                                                                                 

To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers and sisters,
To make music in the heart.

You are my daughter, my beloved, on whom my favour rests.

How can I not work for the Kingdom knowing that? How can my baptism be in the past, something that was done to me when I was a baby?

When the Godparents have returned home,

When the white robe has been cleaned and put away

When the candle is back in its box,

The work of baptism begins:

It  is said that Martin Luther, every morning on waking said ‘I am baptised’. When I imagine this he says it incredulously for when we begin to recognise what it means to be baptised it is awe filled. We  have been named for Christ, invited to to work for Him in bringing about the Kingdom because

Rebekah, you are mine, whom I love beyond measure and my favour* rests on you.

Happy Ordinary Time everyone.

Poem: Dr. Howard Thurman was an influential author, philosopher, theologian, educator and civil rights leader. He was Dean of Theology and the chapels at Howard University and Boston University for more than two decades, wrote 20 books, and in 1944 helped found the first racially integrated, multicultural church in the United States.

*Some translations read ‘well pleased’ for favour. I prefer favour to ‘well pleased’, if God is well pleased, God can also be not well pleased. God’s pleasure is somehow to do with me. Whereas God’s favour is freely given, to all and that includes me regardless of what I do.

Picture by HeQi