Keeping the Daily Hours

I have found a number of resources helpful for daily spiritual disciplines over the course of many years. I am currently using one of the most helpful, The Divine Hours: A Manual for Prayer, by Phyllis Tickle (New York: Doubleday, 2000). I even noted the other day that Scot McKnight had a blog based on this resource. I have found it to be a superb way to follow the discipline of the Benedictine hours throughout the day. I do not keep all the hours on many days but I am still working to make that a part of my pattern.

Today’s reading reminded me that September 29th is the day on the church calendar when we celebrate the role and presence of angels in God’s plan. I don’t know if I have ever celebrated the ministry of angels in my daily disciplines. Perhaps I have reacted against all the pop fascination with angels over the past decade or so. I know that I do not think about angels often on most days. From The Divine Hours I learned that there are only four angels named in the Bible; e.g. Michael, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael. Michael is the chief angel, as you know. It is Michael who fights the evil arrayed against the faithful and delivers divine peace to us at the end of our mortal lives. Many years ago I did a study on the believer at death, which led to a series of sermons based upon my biblical work. I was amazed at that time by the role that angels played in our death. It brought me great peace and joy.

One of the texts used in The Morning Office today was Psalm 103:20-22, a celebration of the angels doing God’s work. The Short Breviary concludes with this prayer: “O God, who in a wonderful order has established the ministry of angels and of men, mercifully grant that even as your holy angels ever do you service in heaven, so at all times they may defend us on earth. Through our Lord. Amen.”

This type of spirituality is richly biblical and consistently Christian.

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