Night Prayer Scripture: Saturday

In the Church’s Liturgy of the Hours, “Saturday” is not technically recognized in the evening or at Night Prayer. If you are a novice to this prayer, you will find tonight’s psalms and such under the heading of “Prayer I on Sundays.”

Early Christians attached Trinitarian formulas to the end of the psalms they prayed. That’s why there’s a variation of the “Glory Be” at the end of each psalm in the Hours. (The only vestige at Mass is the placement of the Gloria after the entrance psalm. Just making sure the stamp of the Christian is on the worship, I suppose.)

Tonight the longest Night Prayer reading of the week is assigned, the commandment Jesus endorsed as “the greatest.”

Hear, O Israel:
The Lord is our God, the Lord alone.
You shall love the Lord your God
with all your heart,
and with all your soul,
and with all your might.
Keep these words
that I am commanding you today
in your heart.
Recite them to your children
and talk about them
when you are at home
and when you are away,
when you lie down and when you rise.

(Deuteronomy 6:4-7, NRSV)

When we approach time for sleep, it can be a time to take stock. This reading might assist us. Have we expressed our love for God in the world this past day? You might think the reference to “heart” reflects the emotions. But for the ancient Israelites, the heart was the source of the will. Moses, and Jesus by extension to all disciples, asks if we have committed ourselves wholly to God’s plan and purpose. The rest of the reading asks if we have shared the message with other people. Children are singled out. But the locations are a good examen too: with our family members old as well as young, in workplaces, schools, marketplaces, at recreation. Even when we are in bed.

Bedtime isn’t usually a good place to paint oneself with recriminations. I interpret the readings at night to be a gentle reminder. Have we failed in some way? Rather than get up and disturb someone we’ve offended, better perhaps to pray, then resolve to do better after waking tomorrow.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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