Friday, May 13, 2011

Glory to God

In praying the Divine Office, something that never fails to strike me is the utterance of a sorrowful psalm followed by the glory be. 

For instance, in this morning’s Office of Readings, the opening antiphon reads: “I am worn out with crying, with longing for my God (alleluia).” 

Followed by a selection of verses from Psalm 69:

“Save me, O God, for the waters have risen to my neck.  I have sunk into the mud of the deep and there is no foothold.  I have entered the waters of the deep and the waves overwhelm me.  I am wearied with all my crying, my throat is parched.  My eyes are wasted away from looking for my God.  More numerous than the hairs on my head are those who hate me without cause.  Those who attack me with lies are too much for my strength…  It is for you that I suffer taunts, that shame covers my face, that I have become a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my own mother’s sons.  I burn with zeal for your house and taunts against you fall on me.  When I afflict my soul with fasting they make it a taunt against me.  When I put on sackcloth in mourning then they make me a byword, the gossip of men at the gates, the subject of drunkards’ songs.”

And then: “Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.  Amen.”

Ant.: “I am worn out with crying, with longing for my God (alleluia).”

As the praying souls of this prayer, we are drawn into the psalmist’s lamentation, indeed we share in his plea for God’s consolation, and by design we follow it proclaiming God’s glory even in the midst of our sorrows.  We are like Job, who in suffering grave loss says, “the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the Lord.” (1:21) 

In praying this way, are we not also alike to Christ? 

In the Eucharistic prayer of the mass, we hear the priest say: “On the night he was betrayed, he took bread and gave you [Father] thanks and praise.”  He was betrayed and gave the Father thanks and praise… for the bread that would be broken at table, the bread that is His body that would be broken.

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