Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Good day at the Office, dear?

Today is my day off, so instead of cyling against the flow of morning school children to say the Office in church, I said it in my study here. I have found this a struggle since we moved . Though I spend quite a bit of time at my desk, this room still doesn't feel really mine in the way that my study at Lower Farmhouse did, and part of the problem is that my prayer space is less defined and alot less attractive. A vicious circle looms, then...since it is harder to pray here, I do it less, which means that I am slower to claim the room as truly mine.
I'm not sure I'm getting that much out of saying the Office, either...somehow I rarely manage to engage with the readings, and there are some weeks when I just feel as if I'm drowning in the words, and neither learning from them nor reflecting on them in any meaningful way. However, maybe that's not the point really....Trawling blogland this morning, I found
"I don't know how to pray, so I throw myself into the stream of those who do."
I love that. It suggests that just when I'm finding the Office most of a struggle, it is actually helping me most of all, carrying me on a tide of prayer from the worldwide Church. Maggi said something about the value of the repetition of the Office during a panel discussion at Greenbelt this year which resonated at the time, and still more today. Her gist, as it struck me, was that, come rain or shine, fair mood or foul, to find oneself saying "My soul magnifies the Lord" or "In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us" over a period of time actually effected change in oneself...the words become real and true.
My splendid boss is away for most of November, so I'll be saying the Office on my own every day,but with greater enthusiasm as a result of this morning's reading...though if anyone did happen to find themselves in Charlton Kings at 8.30 or 5.30, Monday to Friday, I'd love visible company as well as the constant cloud of witnesses.


John said...

I know what you mean about the office - I say morning prayer at the church with our vicar and it does sometimes seem...emptier, because of what's going on in me. But I always find that taking part in the liturgy of prayer, as part of the Body of Christ throughout the world, keeps me going, even when it isn't resonating.
This morning was nice - the lectionary reading was the story of Jesus throwing the money changers out of the temple, surrounded by the story of Jesus cursing the fig tree. Until this year's Greenbelt, I'd never understood this, but Jeffrey John's seminars were really useful. Anyone who's not read his "The Meaning of Miracles" should do :-)

pax et bonum

(P.S. The links in the article to Maggi's blog and the GB site are broken - they need "http://" on the beginning because they're local links ATM!)

Daniel said...

Hey Kathryn... I keep trying to do Morning and Evening Prayer at home, sometimes find it helpful sometimes not at all, and partly as a result of that I am more than a little erratic with how much I keep up with it (haven't used it in the past couple of weeks in fact). So good to hear that actual vicars struggle with it too! ;-)

Kathryn said...

Dan, our ex DDO once said something surprisingly helpful to me re the Office, when he compared it to, of all things, cleaning your teeth, in that it is just something that you do every day..non negotiable...part of the landscape no matter what. I think the fact that we are bound to do so once ordained is actually quite a Good Thing, as I used to find that the more erratic I was with it, the harder it was to get into when I did manage it.

Kathryn said...

btw John...I've done as you suggested, and those two links now look exactly the same as the one to Fr Jake, but somehow they still don't work. Not really worth losing a lot of sleep this time round, butI do wish I understood it.

Rhys Morgan said...

Tom Allen has a good post on the office.

I am impressed i confess i don't say the office on my day off or holidays mmmmmmm

Daniel said...

Kathryn... like the analogy... problem is I have the most appalling dental hygiene habits so maybe it's not the best one for me to use, heh-heh...

Daniel said...

Oh and as far as the links go... they don't work now for a different reason! You fixed the first problem by adding 'http://' at the beginning, but then you added '.html' at the end when it shouldn't be there.

For future reference, the easiest way is to browse to the page you want to link to, copy the *whole* address (including the 'http://') from your browser's address bar, and then go back and paste it in to your blog post - without adding or removing anything. That should always work!

Karen said...

Thanks for the post and comments. Praying the Office isn't exactly a hot blogging topic, so it's great to see the discussion.

I've been praying the Office for about 5 years now as part of my rule of life, and I have to say that even though I love the idea of doing it, it's often a struggle to get myself to actually pick up my prayerbook and do it because I'm so easily distracted when I say the same prayers over and over again. It's a little easier for me since I'm part of a seminary community which worships together 3 times per day, but when I'm at home by myself it can be a struggle to stay motivated. Still, I keep plugging on because if I can't stay focused in private prayer how can I advise others to be faithful?