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Lord, You are in our midst

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Lord, You are in our midst

‘Lord, you are in our midst, we are called by your name.  Do not desert us, O Lord our God.’ (Jer 14:9)

This single verse forms the scripture reading for Night Prayer on Fridays.  Read out of context, it seems like a declaration of faith followed by a general supplication, something like            ‘Lord, we know and we believe you are always present.            May your divine assistance remain always with us.’

However, if we turn to the book of Jeremiah and read the verse in its context, we find it to be a desperate cry for help amidst prophesy of drought, famine and sword.  Certainly it is a helpful little verse to pray in times of trial but it does not readily match the circumstances of so many a cosy Friday night at the end of a good week on the eve of a promising weekend.

Liturgical Prayer often presents us with this little problem; that the words on our lips do not match the feelings of our hearts.  When one prays the Liturgy of the Hours, or even Liturgy of the Word at Mass each day, one inevitably finds oneself praying ‘de profundis’ when one is simply not in ‘the depths’, or perhaps a psalm of exuberance when one is feeling sombre.

This apparent problem can be transformed into a wonderful opportunity to pray with the Universal Church, though, as the Introduction to Morning and Evening Prayer explains:

‘In the Divine Office, even someone saying the Hour alone is not praying the psalms privately but recites them in the name of the Church and according to the sequence given in her public prayer.  Whoever says them in the name of the Church can always find a reason for joy or sorrow, finding applicable to himself the words of the apostle: Rejoice with those who rejoice and be sad with those in sorrow (Rom 12:15); human weakness and selfishness is thus healed by charity so that the mind and heart may harmonize with the voice.’     (para. 44)

And so:

Lord, You are in our midst

You are here with me, Lord, as you are with all who call upon you.  
You are with  those suffering persecution, hunger or the sword.  
Give us all the grace, Lord, to know and to believe always that you are in our midst.

We are called by your name.

You draw all men to yourself, without exception… but you will not shout.  
Help us all, without exception, to recognise that our hearts’ desire is to love you, Lord,
and to respond generously to the call of your holy name.

Do not desert us, O Lord our God.

Give your light to those in darkness, those who dwell in the shadow of death and guide us into the way of peace.

Amen.

 

 

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