Note: The writer this week is using the framework of the Liturgy of the Hours (Opus Dei i.e. Work of God) so sanctifying the day with prayer.
The one who made the Pleiades and Orion,
and turns deep darkness into the morning,
and darkens the day into night,
who calls for the waters of the sea,
and pours them out on the surface of the earth,
the Lord is his name, Amos 5:8 (NRSV)
Matins (MIDNIGHT) Dear Lord we ask your mercies on your people of Ezgeleh, Iran and the over 500 villages that have endured a 7.3 magnitude earthquake. Sustain them as they are digging frantically through the rubble for survivors. Be with the families and medical teams as they care for the 7,100 injured. Wrap your care around those in deep grief for the 445 dead as the nation enters three days of mourning. Guide those conducting house-to-house searches and inspections in the city of Halabja and surrounds in Iraq where 7 people are dead and 535 people were injured. We pray that the Darbandikhan Dam can be secured and that villages below are evacuated. Help us to comfort one another during times of deep loss.
Lauds (SUNRISE) A moment of silence as we allow the Light of Christ to enter our hearts.
Prime (6:00 A.M.) In the bright mountain forest of the Cerro Pelon Sanctuary in Mexico Monarch butterflies arrive from their ancient flyways. Traveling through endangered habitats of the US and Canada they endure. God, you eternally are forming this earth. You grant us pleasure and cameraderie as we unite to protect and preserve something as beautiful as a butterfly and a caterpillar’s foraging plant – each a unique essence in your splendid creation. Help us as stewards to see the connections.
Terce (9:00 A.M.) Somewhere on this earth it is always morning and children are going to school. Protect them. Give them nourishment and caring attention as they live, learn and play with one another. Be with the families who have lost children to gun violence and again most wrenchingly near Corning, California, USA where the Rancho Tehama Elementary School children and community members experienced a murderous shooting spree. Be with those who mourn and receive the gratitude of the many who were saved due to quick action by school staff, citizens and police. Descend upon us Holy Spirit as we care for one another.
Sext (NOON) Even in the brightness of day violence against children “knows no boundaries,” as described in the just released UNICEF report. God have mercy. Bring your protection and comfort to children throughout the world who are mistreated in their homes, to those who witness domestic violence, endure sexual violence, forced labor, trafficking and have no safe place to live, grow and play. Take into your eternal peace those who have been murdered. Bring awareness to the caregivers and communities who are a safety net for these your most vulnerable. Strengthen our resolve and amplify our voices as light is shined on violence. Sustain our partnerships in education, child welfare, and justice and health systems. Infuse your mysterious force of Love in our daily work.
None (3:00 P.M.) Oh, Holy Spirit, come among us. Soothe our cares and our worries. Help us to find some serenity in spite of all the news that seems to flood over us. Be close, guide and protect all involved in the political upheaval in Zimbabwe whose people have already suffered so much for so long. Sometimes it is hard to take it all in. Help us to find peace, respite, a friendly smile or to be that warm embrace when everything seems at opposite ends.
Vespers (6:00 P.M.) Somewhere on this earth it is becoming evening and suppertime and family time. Some of your people sit in tents and some in fine houses with secure roofs and safe walls. Others flee and have no food. Many are homeless. Dear Lord, we ask you to help us to sit with the refugee and listen, with those experiencing war, natural catastrophe and the long, long after shocks of deprivation. You are our refuge.
Compline (9:00 P.M.) And for all of these hours, the gift of Life this day, in this moment, in all of its sadness and losses, its joys and recoveries, we rest in You. Amen.