February 16, June 17, October 17
Chapter 13: How the Morning Office Is to Be Said on Weekdays
The Morning and Evening Offices
should never be allowed to pass
without the Superior saying the Lord’s Prayer
in its place at the end
so that all may hear it,
on account of the thorns of scandal which are apt to spring up.
Thus those who hear it,
being warned by the covenant which they make in that prayer
when they say, “Forgive us as we forgive,”
may cleanse themselves of faults against that covenant.
But at the other Offices
let the last part only of that prayer be said aloud,
so that all may answer, “But deliver us from evil.
Have you ever thought of the Lord’s Prayer in this manner? As a hedge against trouble, problems, gossip? Do you, as I, tend to pray this by rote, not really thinking about the words coming out of the mouth? Are you ever startled by the content of this prayer? Sometimes a phrase leaps out at me. “Give us this day our daily bread.” “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” “Lead us not into temptation.” There are days when i am simply startled by these words.
To have only enough for this day? I live in a world with refrigerators and freezers, closets, bookcases, rental storage units. I have more than enough for today at least in my possessions. But have I enough grace? Humility? Courtesy? Forgiving others so that we may be forgiven? What? I am supposed to forgive the drivers who cut me off, come within inches of ramming me off the road so that I will be forgiven? Forgive others the wrongs they do me? I almost always do, but I admit it has been a struggle. And why would God, of all beings, want to lead me into temptation? Does God do that?
It hurts me, sometimes, to really think about the meaning of the phrases which roll so easily off my tongue. Sometimes it scares me how often I just don’t pay attention.