Saturday, March 21, 2009

I confess

It makes me feel lazy and therefore ashamed, but I must admit that this week I've left aside Matins, and only used the Day Hours of the Breviary.

Unfortunately, I have found reading the nine psalms of Matins and its lessons - while ideally excellent - to be too much of a burthen, and a source of anxiety and restlessness.

I do hope in this (as in much else) that I have not entirely succumbed to acedia - that is, to that form of sloth which is the vice of finding religious devotion repulsive.  (Aquinas warns that this vice, often linked to the effects of pride, lust and gluttony, is closely related to despair - quod Deus avertat.)

On the positive side, I haven't been assailed with a foolish mania to read the Office as if it were some duty binding upon me, construed in a pharisaical manner (like tithing mint and dill, yet not practising charity), but rather, I hope, I have looked forward as my daily nourishment to delighting in the psalms given us by the Holy Ghost through the sacred writers, and the prayers of the Church composed under the guidance and governance of the same Spirit.

St Benedict defined the hoped-for effect of the Prayer of the Church as mens concordet voci: "may the mind accord with the voice" - that is, the desired result is that the heart may be lifted up to the Lord by striving to be of one mind and soul with Him through participating in the very words of Divine Revelation and right doctrine.  To this I say, Amen.


Anonymous said...


I wouldn't be so hard on yourself! I never manage to read the Psalms of Matins, though a good halfwayhouse is reading the Lessons the night before.

God bless,

Terra said...

Joshua - You have a full time job - I'm always amazed at how much you do manage!

Joshua said...

Yes, reading the lessons is a good idea...