Friday, August 20, 2010

Bernard of Clairvaux, 1153 AD

The statutes of the LORD are just
and rejoice the heart; *
the commandment of the LORD is clear
and gives light to the eyes.
Psalm 19:8

Rebekah likes to tell me about times as a toddler when she'd find her daddy praying his morning devotions, early in the morning, and alone in the dark. She'd watch from a distance. Once he realized he had a stalker, he'd frequently motion for her to come near, sit on his lap, and they'd continue together in silence. These are some of Rebekah's fondest memories from her childhood.

This week has been my first attempt at being a morning person, which is to say that my morning devotions have seldom occurred in the dark. But I'm trying to become a cyclist, and God bless the poor soul who waits until light in Corpus Christi to get the exercise in. So it's up at 5:30 a.m., with rides on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; lighter exercise on other days. And morning devotions afterwards, still in the dark. Rebekah and I have a prayer candle we use when we pray together in the evening; I use it now as the sky turns from star-specked black to still-dark blue.

Discipline in action is never quite as sexy as it sounds. Bek and I hit simultaneous walls these days, somewhere around 2 p.m., as we adjust to this new daily rhythm. Last night we hit the sack at 9:30 p.m., and gladly. The last two mornings, Annie has been howling during prayer time, somewhere around 6:30 a.m. - up a full hour early. When I find her, the sweet and prayerful child of Rebekah's memory is for me a tearful, tired mess smelling strongly of pee - still glad to see her daddy. And as I return to the prayer candle and still-dark skies, with Annie nuzzled on my shoulder, I laugh at the glamorless-ness of it all; the scandal of the cross still true. And as we sing our alleluias, I thank God for life, and light, and joy.

O God, by whose grace your servant Bernard of Clairvaux, kindled with the flame of your love, became a burning and a shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.Amen.

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