Saturday, November 9, 2013

Watch Over Us As We Sleep

'As I retire, I close the day in my choir stall.  "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."  (From Liturgy of the Hours, Night Prayer).'

As darkness falls about the monastery, nuns (or monks, as the case may be) gather to chant the Office of Night Prayer.  When I've been on retreat, I have found this to be my favorite prayer of the day.  It is much the same from night to night, it has repetition as in a gentle lullaby, and it ends with a Marian hymn.  At the end of this Office, inhabitants of the monastery retire to their cells in silence.

Many of us cannot bring this exact nighttime ritual into our homes, nor are we called to do so.  But we can end the day with prayer.  Even if we do so in the silence of our hearts as the family settles down around us (or when they don't, and every parent knows the kind of night of which I speak!), we can end our day with an act of thanksgiving to God. 

If I am able, I sometimes supplement Night Prayer by going to the Prie Dieu blog and taking a few minutes to examine my conscience, listen to a nighttime hymn, or sing along with the Salve Regina.

However I may do so, I want to remember to close my day by giving thanks to God.   

'O God, with Whom there is no darkness, keep and defend us and all Your children, we beseech You, throughout the coming night.  Renew our hearts with Your forgiveness and our bodies with untroubled sleep, that we may wake to use more faithfully your gift of life.  Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord.  Amen.'