It is coming on to evening; I became aware last night at a concert of Monteverdi’s “Vespers,” that I long to close my evenings with attention to and from the Holy One, as the evening office of Vespers does. I need to ground my evening and my sleep in a sense of Holy Presence whether it be in song, in meditation on sacred text, or in my own prayer, silent of spoked, shared or alone.
This Psalm was sung last night:
It is useless to rise up early and stay up late, eating the bread of anxious toil./God gives Her beloved peaceful sleep. Psalm 127 (from Swallow’s Nest, M.R.Rienstra)
The last week and this present week are full of toil that could be anxiety producing. ‘Tis the season after all, and the beginnings and endings of life keep moving apace; the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune keep coming, ricocheting around the world. Expectations are projected and then not met. War looms on the horizon, even as we are desperately praying for peace. Who can go to sleep?
Therefore, for this turn of the season, I am going to practice Vespers, whether I am in community or alone. Brother David Steindl-Rast says, “Vespers celebrates the lighting of lamps as evening descends…it is the hour of peace of heart, of serenity.”
May it be so for you and for me this Thanksgiving week!
Watch, O lord, with those who wake, or watch, or weep tonight, and give your angels and saints charge over those who sleep. Tend your sick ones, O Lord Christ. Rest your weary ones. Bless your dying ones. Soothe your suffering ones. Shield your joyous ones, and all for Love’s sake. (St. Augustine)