I recently discovered that a small chapel about a mile from our house has "night prayer" every night at 8:00 PM. Truth be told, at 8:00PM on weeknights, I am more likely to be sitting in front of my TV than anywhere else... and a mile down the road, in a beautiful and peaceful chapel that holds no more than about 40 people, and generally has an attendance of 15-20 people, a Compline service is being quietly conducted. I have made it a goal that this month, more days than not, I will be there for the service.
As I have mentioned before, I am in the Novitiate stage of becoming a Benedictine Oblate. One of the reasons I am drawn to Monastic spirituality is the intentional way that those in Monastic communities live with a certain rhythym and flow in the presence of God. With all the habits we develop, (being "present" for our favorite TV show - not so necessary anymore now that we have Tivo/DVR - having dessert after dinner, morning coffee, reading the Newspaper, etc.), there is no point to raging against the reality that we are creatures of habit. Even our pets have habits. Simcha, our last cat, had evening rituals... in many ways she was a creature of habit. Not so much our new cat Mishu, who is a creature of impulse. But Simcha had a certain order to her life that fascinated me.
But I digress. So, I've had enough of feeding bad habits, and I feel a certain desire to incorporate "habits" that acknowledge and honor God, and habits that feed my "higher" self with the time that I have left. And, I find that when I attend the Compline service, I enter the evening with much greater peace. Also, I am less concerned than ever about "denomination." I am not a Catholic, yet, I find a reverence and beauty in the Divine office. It is like poetry to God. I don't care what denominational language is spoken, if I am making music to God and honoring Jesus...
...it's good stuff!
Protect us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in his peace. Alleluia.