I just finished Morning Prayer, using the online version at the www.MissionStClare.com website. I’m not a morning person, so Morning Prayer has never been my long-suit. But for four years when I taught seminarians at Sewanee we had required Morning Prayer which I attended every day. I can still sing the Canticles in my head; they’re simplified Anglican chant and are part of the Service Music you flip past to get to the hymns in the Hymnal 1982. So when I actually manage to do Morning Prayer on my own, I’m grateful to Marion Hatchett for insisting that faculty join students for this daily discipline.
The Daily Office is a time, too, to remember the “saints” in the church calendar, and today’s saint is St. Vincent de Paul. According to James Kiefer: “In 1625 he established the Congregation of the Mission (now known as the Vincentians, or the Lazarists), a community of priests who undertook to renounce all ecclesiastical advancement and devote themselves to work in the small towns and villages of France. … On one occasion, a noblewoman of the court, furious with Vincent because he refused to nominate her son for a position as bishop, threw a stool at him. He left the room with a stream of blood pouring from his forehead, and said to a companion who was waiting for him, “Is it not wonderful how strong a mother’s love for her son can be?” He died 27 September 1660.”
So today I’m praying especially for all those clergy in small and easily-forgotten churches — and even some in bigger better-known places — who have chosen “to renounce all ecclesiastical advancement” out of their devotion to the work of the church. What would it look like, I ask myself, to live like this in my life?No comments