[[Salvador Dali, who would later re-vert to the Catholic faith, seems to have had a Kevorkianesque enthrallment with the persistence of memory as time at this stage, so that the pristine waters of creation (going back into Akkadian mythology) weren't quite artifically fabricted well enough for that pristineness to reach into our enduring experience of time, which is, then, rather sterile, dreary, and aimed at continuous death. How sad. Nice colors, though. Glad he came back to the faith.]]
Just previous to this post, I wrote a bit on time HERE. And then another, in a different way: “Wheeeeee!” And then: “I hate other priests who tell me I’m on a slippery slope for not saying the Liturgy of the Hours”
For this post, there is just a note on time and the Liturgy of the Hours / Roman Breviary (the prayer of the Church).
The Prayer of the Church is hailed as an extension, in its own way, of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The Sacrifice of Jesus reaches within time from outside of time by virtue of His being the Creator of time at any given time, at all times, and being Incarnate! Whew! The will of Christ Jesus to save, good in one time, is good for all times. The Apocalypse has another way to put it: “Every eye shall see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all the tribes of the earth shall mourn over Him. Yes. So may it be” (Revelation 1,7). And as our Lord said, “And even when I am lifted up from the earth, I will drag all to myself” (John 12,32). Yes, dragging, right through the hell of Calvary to the heights of the Cross to be with Him. There’s a good view of time from up there. One sees the breadth and height and depth of time through love, through mercy, through, with and in Jesus, for then one gets a sense of the Mystical Body of Christ throughout time.
The Prayer of the Chruch, gaining its strength from the Mass, sanctifies the hours of the day, not so much, mind you, because of the effort to physically recite this and that hour spread throughout the day, and even the night (although that is important, for we are not without bodies in this passing world!). Most importantly, the Prayer of the Church sanctifies the hours of the day because one enters into the living prayer of the Church. One is, through this extension of the Mass, introduced always more intimately to the entire Mystical Body of Christ throughout time and, yes, even throughout the hours of our day to day lives, hour by hour, day by day.
But let’s not keep this too disassociated with our bodily existence in time, in our present weakness. When we go through the hours, are not some of the psalms rather militant, or full of the majesty of the Lord, or exuberant with His praise, or with jubilation, or repentance, or desperation, or what have you? Sometimes these can resonate with our mood on any given day, for any given hour. Sometimes decidedly not. However, it’s not about us as cut off from others, is it? Are there not, on any given day, for any given hour, those members of the Body of Christ who are in desperation, or jubilation or filled with repentance, or rejoicing in the mercy of the Lord? Yep. Instead of trying so very hard to be available for the Mystical Body of Christ in praying these hours for them, the members of that Body, why not let the Holy Spirit drag one right around the world, at any given time or place, to pray with them in this way or that. As Saint Paul says, “Rejoice with those who rejoice; weep with those who weep” (Romans 12,15). It’s a matter of agility of soul which we do not have, but which the Holy Spirit does grant to those who ask. Remember when Blessed JPII was asked how it is that the Pope prays, and that his answer was that one would have to ask the Holy Spirit how his soul was dragged, as it were, throughout the world, in intercession for these and for those members of the Body of Christ. Yep. That’s it.
The sanctification of time by way of the Prayer of the Church is all about the goodness and kindness of our Lord for all of us, regardless of space and time, or, better, especially because of the kind of space and time we are in: “For we know that all creation is groaning together and in agony together until now, but not only that, but also those having the first fruit of the Spirit, us and those in themselves who are groaning, who are eagerly awaiting adoption, the redemption of our bodies” (Romans 8,22-23). “Of our bodies…” So, time, and the sanctification of time, through the very time demanding, physical presence demanding of the Prayer of the Church, we begin to get a glimpse of the glorious goodness and kindness of Jesus, wherever we are, whatever time it is.