O God, you are my God, for you I long;
for you my soul is thirsting.
These sixteen words begin in earnest our praying of the Psalter in the Liturgy of the Hours for Morning Prayer on Sunday of Week 1 and on our most Solemn Feast days. These sixteen words for me define that inexplicable, mysterious pull deep within my heart as it gathers up and in faith, hopes to enter into relationship.
For me learning to pray the Liturgy of the Hours began in stops and starts many years ago; and finally with serious intention in the year 2004. At that time my interest in the Teresian Carmel was already simmering on the back burner but without knowledge of its presence in my region.
A chance phrase uttered by Fr. Benedict Groeschel CFR on EWTN, made me realize that dwelling in my soul was a capacity and a need to pray that remained latent most, if not all my life. In a state of excitement – at finding and naming my charism – I started to develop a prayer life with the use of books and attending adoration holy hours. Yet as I tested the water, this intimidating work of the church – the Liturgy of the Hours – summoned me. So I began with a hand-me-down book (from my husband) simply titled Morning and Evening Prayer. That’s all it was, very simply the four weeks of Lauds and Vespers in a simple easy to follow format. Eventually, I moved on to “The Smaller Christian Prayer” book and started to follow the seasons of the church more closely. Then during the holy year of the Eucharist 2004-2005 which ushered Pope John 2 out and Benedict XVI in – I began to regularly pray the office of Vespers in community at my parish. Yes, this was a good beginning, but it was only a beginning.
To be continued…