I go to sleep but God in me remains awake,
while angels watch over and protect me.
As soon as I lie down I fall peacefully asleep.
-Alizabeth Rasmussen and Psalm 4:9
Over the next seven weeks, we will explore the practice of praying the hours, also known as: the canonical hours, the Divine Office, the Prayer of the Hours, the Divine Hours, or the Liturgy of the Hours. This is a practice of consciously pausing for prayer at appointed hours throughout the day. The idea of pausing seven times a day can be a bit daunting, so we're going to explore one hour at a time, giving each of the seven prayer times its own week. We'll be using Macrina Wiederkehr's Seven Sacred Pauses as a guide. This delightful little book is filled with prayers, poems, quotes, readings and reflections for each hour.
First stop: Matins (or Vigils).
The theme for this hour is "vigilance" and, traditionally, it was prayed in the middle of the night. Don't worry -- we won't suggest that you set your alarm for 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. (Unless you want to, of course, in which case we'll want to hear all about it!)
Instead, spend some time with this prayer right before bed. Consider and maybe even write down the "eternal questions" that remain with you at the end of each day. Acknowledge the "deep yearning" of your soul as you head off to sleep. And then pay attention to any changes in sleep patterns you experience. If you don't already record your dreams, try it this week and see what you discover.
O Sentinel of the night skies,
Attendant of my soul's deep yearning.
Drawn into the night silence,
I keep vigil with eternal questions.
All through the night watch
I seek you without words.
Listening to the sound of silence,
I lean into the song of darkness
with infinite patience I wait for you.
Keeping vigil with eternal questions,
I do not look for answers; it is enough
to wait in the darkness of love's yearning.
My soul is my night light; I am not afraid.
Wishing you all kinds of sweet dreams, dear Qrickets. :-)