The rhythm of prayer – and of our life

The readings since last week have been on the specific requirements of prayer at different times of the day and at different times of the year. Joan Chittister notes that we no longer are constrained by the amount of daylight available for us as we determine the rhythm of daily life. We are not as aware of the need to adapt at different times – nor of the influence external events have on our prayer life or our daily activities.

So I wonder – what does influence the rhythm of life for us? For students and those of us who work on campus, there is certainly the impact of the academic year. There is still an impact from seasons – at least, those of us in a harsh climate change our daily activities depending on the season! When it is cold, we limit our time outdoors. When it is warm, we tend to drop out of other commitments in order to be outside…

And there are seasons in our life which impact the rhythms for a period of time Рsmall children dictate that we live in a certain way (one in which sleep is essential albeit frequently interrupted!), illness of a family member or loved one brings particular demands.

What is currently forming the rhythm of YOUR life? What do you have control over – and what is beyond any personal influence? Is the daily rhythm of your life and prayer something you have fallen into, or is it a deliberate choice? Does it reflect the reality of your life and the season you are in? Are you trying to cling to an earlier rhythm and need to change? Is there room for rest as well as work?

Many questions as we move fully into fall and begin to see the days shorten and the darkness grow…



Benedictine monks like St. Bede’s?!

Just a short note that I sure chuckled out loud this morning in the reading (p.111):

“Psalm 67 is said without a refrain and slightly protracted as on Sunday so that everyone can be present for Psalm 51…”

Hmmm… this sounds like St. Bede’s on Sunday morning where it is a good thing to chat a little as a group over announcements & prayer requests since that ensures more people are likely to have arrived for the actual start of our worship together!

I am amused that monks also might have been a little tardy as they gathered together to pray!


Laughter and humility (or Megan’s defense!)

Some of you know that back when I was in seminary, I was told by a fellow student that I laughed too much to be able to do ministry. And most of you know that I do indeed laugh a great deal – and loudly! Many people say that they can hear me coming down the hall because of my laugh…

So you might imagine that it is with some consternation that I read yesterday, “The tenth step of humility is that we are not given to laughter” (p. 94). Oh dear – presumably I am not humble in any way then, or at least I have no outward sign of that.

Thank goodness for Joan Chittister’s reminder that humour and laughter are not the same thing. She writes,¬†“Humour gives us the strength to bear what cannot be changed and the sight to see the human under the pompous.”

I like to think that is what I am doing with my laughter. Back when the critique was made in seminary, my defense was “Laughter is what will allow me to keep doing ministry!” And I continue to think that is true in much of my life – laughter, and the ability to see the ridiculous nature of so much, has often been what has sustained me.

Of course, not all my laughter is that. Sometimes, it is a nervous laughter – I do not know what is going on nor how to change/help the situation, so I laugh. Sometimes it is a cruel laughter – a deliberate laughing at someone (and a need for confession later). Sometimes it is a tired, almost manic laughter – I cannot really cope with anything any more so I laugh.

But mostly (I hope), I laugh because I want to affirm what is still good, to see what is still possible, despite the worst of circumstances.

And in that laughter there is a humility. Because I am not the one in charge, nor the ultimate judge. I am one small person who loves G-d’s world and G-d’s people – and a good joke!

And what about you? when do you laugh? and is it good?!