Saturday, May 22, 2010

May 22 - "Start the Night Before"

The morning bell in the monastery . . . in some very traditional houses, a clapper is sounded in the hall of the dormitory . . . calls the Sisters from their beds. In those houses where Vigils are observed, this first rising might come between midnight and three in the morning, followed by a little more sleep and another rising before dawn to sing the office of Matins or Lauds.

Of one thing we can be sure: in traditional houses of monasticism, the nuns do not pull their veils over their heads and trek off to the coffee pot . . . or the internet . . . or the newspaper. No. There is usually a prescribed morning prayer, said in the nuns’ cells, and then there is corporate worship. In essence it is, “Good morning, Father God. I am yours; this day is yours . . . and I am here to worship You.”

Can “post modern” life take from us a similar devotion?

It cannot . . . but we can give it away. God is so understanding! None so understanding and sympathetic as He! We were up late! We forgot to wash Johnny’s baseball uniform! Susie’s class needs cupcakes for a party today!

He does, He does understand! He understands that we are weak and frail and human . . . and we allow procrastinations, interruptions, inclinations, predilections and gratifications to supplant our devotions.

Once when questioned regarding his long-standing and powerful devotional habit and how he was able to maintain it, Elizabeth Elliot’s father explained that he . . . started the night before!

Those in Cor Unum who wish to continue “tweaking” their devotional lives might look well to “the night before,” and to determine that first waking moments belong to God alone. Ten minutes of worship, thanksgiving and praise will set the tone for the day and for our lives, if we are consistent. An hour of worship and prayer and devotion to His Word will change lives, beginning with our own.

At night, we make sure nothing will keep us from our morning tryst with the Lord our God. If we fail occasionally, we steadily pursue the Object of our devotion. Sensibly, we go to God before we open ourselves to the world around us, because we understand, too. We understand that our frailties must never be exalted above His majesty! We understand that He who has kept our hearts beating while we slept is worthy of our worship when we arise! We understand that, if we seek Him with our whole hearts, He will be found of us.

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