I’ve been making an effort to say the Divine Office. It’s not the easiest thing I’ve ever done. There’s a lot of page flipping and ignorance on my part. But I humbly applaud my efforts. My “cloud of witnesses,” I’m sure, agree.
Recently, an absolute marvel of a website,DivineOffice.org gave my prayer time a boost. With iPod and prayer book, I now sit before the Blessed Sacrament, lips moving in sync with Morning Prayer. No sound escapes my lips to disturb the silence of the Adoration Chapel, but heavenly voices do sound in my ears. My prayer wings its way to the throne of God. I don’t think I’m pushing a spiritual envelope here, but it proves to me technology can be a friend. The limits I am pushing are those that limit me to me, myself and I. As I pray, the accompaniment of gifted voices reminds me that the Divine Office is meant to be a communal prayer. God, Who is outside Time and Space and yet fills it, hears all of His children making a joyful noise as He inclines His ear. Some might feel that it’s somehow holier to read than to listen but the Book of Revelation does bless “those that hear,” so I don’t think I’m breaking new holy ground.
It amazes me that the Mother of Jesus has come to be such a contentious figure. Some time ago, I painted Our Lady with the Child Jesus in her arms. It showed at the Parker Gallery in CO. A church met in the same building, so members of the congregation would stop by to see the artwork after services. One Sunday only a young girl, about 9 years old, wondered from painting to painting, until she came to Mother and Child. She stood before it a moment considering the painting and then to my astonishment made a disdainful sound, “Psst!” Then, the child tossed her head and left abruptly. The gesture seemed beyond her years. Wouldn’t you expect an image of a mother and a child to touch a soft spot in a young and tender heart? Instead, it struck like a rock bouncing off unyielding ground. I remembered the lyrics of a song from South Pacific:
You’ve to to be taught before it’s too late,
Before you are six or seven or eight
To hate all the people your relatives hate,
You’ve got to be carefully taught!
Prejudice can effect, or more accurately, infect us at any age or stage. It’s sad when it blinds us to goodness; saddest when it makes us immune to holiness, which, I guess, it always does.