From Fr. Brent-
We are now in the season after Pentecost, otherwise known as Ordinary Time. It is not a feast season like Easter, nor is it a fast season like Lent, it is Ordinary.
I appreciate the pensiveness of Advent and the light of Christmas. I appreciate the disciplines of Lent and the Alleluias! of Easter. But the time we are in, both in our liturgical calendar and this age in history is Ordinary. This is how it usually is, most of history, like most of our calendar, is like this.
We are in an extraordinary Ordinary Time, being somewhere in the life cycle of a global pandemic and somewhere in the dialectical history of white supremacy and empire’s confrontation with Justice and the Commonwealth of God. It is extraordinary in our lifetimes, even the life times of our eldest elders, but this is pretty standard fare in the course of things.
The Wednesday Seekers just finished a book on Benedictine spirituality, a study on how St. Benedict designed a form of life in community that enables people to live up the expectations of Jesus Christ. Central to the prayer life of Benedictines (and prayer is the center of their lives) are the psalms.
The psalms sometimes upset me. I remember the first Morning Prayer Windy came to at the monastery that we eventually moved to. We started reciting the psalms and that day was the one with babies head being dashed on rocks. (Psalm 137). She was a bit unsure about the whole monk thing I was slipping into and that psalm didn’t help.
In March, as the pandemic was ramping up, I was saying Compline with Hannah Maeve and Brigid as part of our bedtime ritual and Psalm 91 struck me in a way it could not have before:
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
And then there is the Venite, Psalm 95, which we read as part of the Invitatory of morning prayer each morning:
Come, let us sing to the Lord; *
let us shout for joy to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving *
and raise a loud shout to him with psalms.
The psalms, these holy poems of terror and joy, have been faithfully prayed on by the faithful for thousands of years. The psalms encompass the extraordinary nature of our very ordinary lives. In this precarious time of plague, of civil unrest and calls for racial reconciliation, remember that the psalms are a rock worth visiting.
*Fr. Brent's email address always appears in the links below