Tuesday, September 30, 2003

What do you call your Liturgy of Hours book?

Sunday morning I was parked at the bottom of the steps of the chapel of reservation, finishing up Morning Prayer, when an ordained joy-addict acquaintance of mine walked up to me, with an impish grin on his face. He's good at impish grins. And he pointed to my LofH book, and said, "You know, we call that the missus, what do you call it?" I didn't quite catch on, looked puzzled, said "Huh?" He repeated, "Us priests call that book the Mrs. because it's always with us; so what do you call yours?" I smiled and kind of shrugged, I never did call it anything but the LofH book. All I could say was, "I never heard that one before...." [I've always been accused of being a little slow on the uptake, and a bit dense about things that are supposed to be funny; ask my sibs!]

But I then had all morning to ponder on that, for after Mass was the archdiocesan planning meeting, then the Open Door Cafe, where I'm the Sunday sack supper lady. "Would you like a sack supper, sir?" "You're welcome, take care." and so on.

What would I call the Liturgy of Hours book, if not that?

It's the concrete block. Friends and the Transit Plus drivers grab my purse to help out, then say, "What do you got in there, a concrete block?" or, maybe, "a load of bricks?" No bricks, no concrete block, just the LofH book with Magnificat and the baggie of icon prints in the blue vinyl zipper case.

It's the orientation board. In certain large dwelling places, there's a display to help those that live there keep track of things, that states such things as "Today is Tuesday. September 30, 2003. It is Autumn. It is cloudy." The LofH does the same thing for my spiritual life. "Today is Tuesday. It is the twenty-sixth week of Ordinary Time. It is the memorial day for St. Jerome."

Maybe most, it's the tether. It keeps me linked to the whole Church, and assures that I don't wander too far afield. Twenty-first century anchor holds don't have the amenity of a window right into the church as the ones of the past did, so when the weather or my health degrades I get housebound and even Sunday Mass isn't possible; yet, with that precious Liturgy of Hours book, I can still, even in the depth of a Wisconsin winter, even on my worst days. pray together with the whole Church assembled, according to Her desire. With the LofH book, I have a discipline of prayer that isn't dependent on whether or not I'm particularly inspired and that works against any tendency to center my prayer life on my own woes and wishes.

Or, since I hug and kiss it, is it my teddy bear?

My readers, feel free to add your tuppence in the comment box; maybe you have some other names to propose.....

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