just an apprentice

the Word became flesh and dwelt among us...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

the liturgy of the hours

One of the ways that liturgical prayer has impacted my life (at least in my conscious awareness) is that it has brought me into a deeper appreciation for the catholicity (the whole...the fullness...the oneness) of the Church. Alan Creech offers the following observations on how entering the flow of liturgical prayer is formative for our Christian life.

God pays attention to my prayers because I'm in Christ

Liturgy is the skeletal structure of the community

We echo Jesus, the Word, as we pray the Psalms

We can pray AS the community even when we are alone physically

Prayer is an orientation of our lives

There's nothing complacent about doing the same thing over and over again

By the way…you can listen to the liturgical prayer seminar that took place this last weekend in Kentucky (Alan Creech is the voice you hear giving some words of introduction and explanation before praying the office using the Liturgy of the Hours).
For those of you to whom liturgical prayer is new or unfamiliar (or strange!!), you find this audio file helpful in giving you a sense for how liturgy provides a structure of communal prayer that is different, yet helpful in orienting our lives in continuity with Biblical, historical faith.

I am overwhelmed with joy in the LORD my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom in his wedding suit or a bride with her jewels. The Sovereign LORD will show his justice to the nations of the world. Everyone will praise him! His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring, filled with young plants springing up everywhere.

Isaiah 61:10-11

On August 15 of each year, the Church celebrates the life and assumption of the Blessed Virgin, Mother of our Lord. Some sources (Maxwell Johnson in The Oxford History of Christian Worship) suggest that the August 15 date of the feast of Mary Theotokos in the fifth-century Armenian Lectionary, a document which reflects clearly the liturgical tradition of Jerusalem, actually belongs to the earliest, even first-century, stratum of the developing Jerusalem calendar.

Our Christian faith confesses the belief that Jesus Christ, the eternal Word (Logos) of God, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary.

Mary, the supreme example of hospitality…making room…creating space…literally within her physical body. What do we do with Mary? Perhaps, as Protestants (and even as Anabaptists), we have not contemplated the mystery of the incarnation as it involved Mary. Perhaps we have been fearful of “worship of Mary.” I wonder what we could learn about the mystical nature of the materiality of salvation as we look to the example of Mary, the mother of Jesus (fully God, fully human).

How did that happen? A mystery beyond words! That Mary became a vessel of the God stepping into time. This aspect of the Gospel is so incomprehensible, so unsearchable, so amazing. That God would appear in human form (Philippians 2:5-11). This doesn’t fit into the categories of the materialist, secular, scientific worldview.

Mary...was willing to make room for God's work in her life...thanks be to God

This is the faith of the Church...

soli deo gloria


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