What’s in an antiphon?

Usually, the inspirations I draw, “the Word I receive,” (to use a more charismatic turn of phrase) from the Divine Office come from the Psalms, or readings.  This morning, however, the Lord touched me through one of the antiphons… one of those refrains at the beginning and end of each section of the Office for the day.  While not the substance of the Office, the antiphons are, nonetheless part of the sacred text, and usually drawn from Scritpture.  When the Office was regularly sung, their tunes and words often became major sources of inspiration for the saints.

 “I will sing to you O Lord.  I will learn from you the way of perfection.”  Today’s antiphon for the first psalm  exclaims.  Lord, the last few weeks have been trying… and will continue to be, but you ARE present in the midst of it all, teaching me a way of perfection.  On me retreate you blessed me, showing me the way to forgiveness.  There was someone I’ve had a hard time forgiving… literally for years at this point, and YOU Lord, your Spirit finallly led me to forgive.  Maybe I couldn’t actively do it myself, but in the silence of stepping back, you did in me, what I could not do myself.  You showed me a way of perfection.  

Coming home, I entered into a swirl of activities that physically and mentally exhausted me, but Lord, we got through it.  You showed me a way of Peace… a way of surrender to let you manage everything I could not… and somehow the sun kept on rising, until things calmed down… it happens every morning when I sit before your Blessed Sacrament in a way of silence, peace and perfection.

We are short staffed, short of funds, but you sent Fr. Michael to tell me about that book he read by Archbishop Kurtz about a “theology of abundance.”  Kurtz reminds us that we do have everything we need for mission in a given circumstance… ‘reminds me of St. Teresa of Avila who said, “Why do you assume the riches God gives you aren’t exactly what you need?”  And indeed, over the last week some new people have showed up for prayer, for blessings, for mass.  They were not touched by buildings or by riches, but by your Word of Hope.  Will they come back?  I don’t know, but maybe that wasn’t the task this week.  Maybe the task was to touch their lives just once here.  St. Philip reminds me that we are to be a small reinforcement at just the right time in just the right place that contributes to winning the battle.  A way of abundance, a way of perfection.

“Lead kindly light” in the way of perfection until one day I pray I might reach the perfection of eternal rest in you.  -Amen