I awoke Saturday morning to a cold room. The kind of cold you enjoy though as you’re buried deep inside warm covers. It was a beautiful, crisp and clear morning…of 34 degrees! I showered, dressed and headed out the door to get to breakfast early. I wanted to quickly finish eating so I’d have some free time before morning prayer followed by our first Ignatian exercise at 9 am.
After breakfast I decided to go outside to the grotto and bench beyond the edge of the back patio. The sun was bright and the sky was a deep blue. Wearing my hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans, and carrying my breviary I thought it the perfect spot to pray the Office of Readings.
It would have been the perfect spot if it was thirty degrees warmer. Even twenty.
While sitting on the bench and trying to keep warm before I began praying I looked back on the previous day, specifically last night and the sacrament I’d had the opportunity to participate in. In particular I kept coming back to two lines from the Miserere:
And my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall show forth your praise.
Questions entered my mind: Will I continue to blog when I return? To what end? Am I merely feeding my own ego? What about Facebook? Do I continue to be present there or do I instead shut it down and focus on personal writing, journaling and study? Because that is where my heart is leading me. That is where I am most at peace.
But if I do that…shut it all down…I would not be “singing aloud” His praise.
“Questions for God today,” I thought to myself as I opened my book of prayers.
St. Augustine tells us in today’s Office of Readings “He does not allow you to be tempted beyond your strength.” The trouble is that up until now my strength has been tested and found wanting. It’s a little flabby. “Hence these exercises I suppose, right Jeff?” I laughed at my lame joke in order to keep myself warm. Apparently the cold air had not improved my ability to make a joke. I noticed I was beginning to shiver.
There is also a promise from God in my reading:
But if the wicked man turns away from all the sins he committed, if he keeps all my statutes and does what is right and just, he shall surely live, he shall not die. None of the crimes he committed shall be remembered against him; he shall live because of the virtue he has practiced.” ~ Ezekiel 18:21-22
It is on this promise that all my hopes rest.
I looked up at Mary, and then to the large stone next to her upon which the words of the Memorare were engraved. I was really shivering now but wanted to pray them before heading inside as they’ve always brought me comfort.
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession, was left unaided.
Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of Virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate! Despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.
I stood to leave. As I did I reminded myself that although I was in a state of grace from the night before the wolf is always at the door.
Thank you for staying with me on this journey to this point. I hope to complete this series by this time next Saturday.
To recap the entire series thus far click here.