A Morning Prayer for Lent (4)
Morning Prayer: a reflection
Many parishes in the Archdiocese have developed the custom of Morning Prayer before Mass on weekdays. This has attracted the support of bands of devoted parishioners whose lives have been enriched with a new familiarity with the psalms and songs of the bible which are so much part of the ‘Prayer of the Church.’
I am sure that people wouldn’t be turning up for the Morning Prayers unless they were already getting something out of them. But I have some misgivings about the psalms simply being recited, possibly because I remembered my college days when we charged through the psalms of Sunday Vespers in Latin—I remember ‘In exitu Israel de Aegypto, domus Jacob de populo barbaro’ sung to the unforgettable ‘Tonus peregrinus.’
Psalms are meant to be sung, and when we recite them, I think that we may be overlooking some of our resources. More than 30% of the parishes in the Archdiocese consistently sing the responsorial psalm at their Sunday liturgy, and there is no reason why we shouldn’t use those psalm resources when we are introducing Morning Prayer. Similarly, there is no reason to presume that we have to introduce the full Morning Prayer at once—this can grow gradually over several years.
The full Morning Prayer in the ‘Prayer of the Church’ involves the Invocation and Doxology, a hymn, 2 psalms and a Canticle, a short reading, a Responsory, the Benedictus, Intercessions, the Lord’s Prayer and a concluding prayer. Why don’t we start with a short verse or a verse of a hymn which people already know, the Invocation, one responsorial psalm, the short reading, a pause for reflection, a verse of the Benedictus to a tune with which people are already familiar, the intercessions and a prayer.
The Morning Prayers for Lent ( and the one for St Patrick’s Day) above illustrate the possibilities open to us. Morning Prayer can be a marvellous addition to our devotional repertoire