Evening prayer

I did something foolish on the way home from work today.

Actually, I did it twice.

But it almost seemed as though it would be more foolish, more risky not to do it. And so I did it.

As I often do, I was praying Evening Prayer (listening to the app on my phone, from divineoffice.org). I find it a peaceful way to prayerfully transition from work into the rest of my evening.

As I was listening to the psalms, these words particularly resounded in my soul:

“Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.”

Naturally, I have heard this antiphon from Psalm 124 many times before. But what occurred tonight was most astounding. For as I was gazing through my windshield, this was the heaven and earth that I saw:

evening prayer 4

The One who is my Help, the One who has enabled us to escape “the snare of the fowler” – He created all of this and more.

The antiphon kept repeating. I looked to my left.

evening prayer 5

Camera was not with me, being at home, asleep in his bag. But my cell phone has a camera…

I kept exhorting myself to pay attention to the road and the traffic.

“Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.”

I kept hearing the words and seeing their reality displayed before me. I wasn’t paying attention. I had to pull over.

So I paused the audio play of Evening Prayer on my phone, while my heart continued sing it. And my phone received these images.

Kind of foolish perhaps, to pull over onto the shoulder of a busy freeway to receive images of a sky set afire by the setting sun. But it might have been more foolish not to.

Considering this call to beauty complete, I reset the audio Evening Prayer, moving it back a little to hear the words that I had missed while parking. I pulled back into traffic…

“Praised be the God and Father

of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who has bestowed on us in Christ

every spiritual blessing in the heavens…”

(Ephesians 1: 3)

As I rounded the bend, trading one freeway for another, there was even more. It seemed I was being shown these spiritual blessings in the heavens. I don’t think I need to tell you what I did next…

evening prayer 2

“God has given us the wisdom

to understand fully the mystery,

the plan he was pleased

to decree in Christ,

A plan to be carried out

in Christ, in the fullness of time,

to bring all things into one in him,

in the heavens and on earth.”

(Ephesians 1: 8-10)

evening prayer 1

evening prayer 6

As Evening Prayer moved into the Responsory, my heart dropped and it was all I could do not to cry.

“Lord, you alone can heal me, for I have grieved you by my sins.

Once more I say: O Lord, have mercy on me,

for I have grieved you by my sins.”

The thought that my sins grieved the Lord God of heaven and earth seemed almost too much to bear.

But along with the compassion of the darkening sky, the antiphon for Canticle of Mary soothed me again:

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord

for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.”

I am certainly a much lowlier servant than her. And He has looked with favor on me. Not because I have earned it or done anything righteousness. Most certainly not.

I was simply driving home and His light and beauty and grace shown upon me.

Despite my sins.

Maybe even because of them.

How often, in our shame, we forget how very much God loves us, even in our sin, showering us with graces and inspirations and opportunities to find our way back to Him.

He knows how much we need Him. He never forgets us.

All praise to Him.

 

4 thoughts on “Evening prayer

  1. albert

    Now you’ve done it, Mary. After looking at this, I’m afraid i’m going to have to get one of those phones. Not that I expect visions, but I could at least be ready. And that app–amazing, you can listen and pray while driving! But that might be dangerous too. I mean, for the other drivers. Maybe there will be a law soon in Ohio against mobile psalms. No praying while driving. And no stopping for raptures. That would stymie both the right and the left, leaving us (once again) the challenge of living in the world but not “of” it.

    But seriously, this is a Wonder-filled post! Truly a gift, for you as well as for us. It was so important that you included the words of the psalms.

    My favorite photograph is the first–that sign “Lodging” and the highway instructions lit up in the distance add a contrasting commentary that could make a meaningful prayer as well.

  2. mary Post author

    “And no stopping for raptures.” I love it, Al.

    As always, thanks for your reflections. We are a blessed people.

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