Praise & Blessing

“Lord, open our lips, and our mouth shall proclaim your praise.”

These are (ideally) the very first words we speak out loud every day, and they are at one and the same time a request and a declaration of intent. This is what human beings were made for, to bless and to perfect with multi-form consciousness the praise all the rest of the created order makes simply by being true to their nature.

Our Order is, we say, “an institute wholly ordered to contemplation”—this is what we are for, this is what we do. How does this work out in our real daily living, how do we carry out this primary calling not only in the midst of laundry that needs doing, the garden and the desk work that need attention, and so on? The good news is that “ora” and “labora” are made for each other, and none of this is mutually exclusive with praise and blessing. In fact, as we mature in this life, the work itself becomes praise and blessing.

The same multiform consciousness that allows us to think and to stand on behalf of the rest of the created order also, alas, allows us multiform ways to be distracted from this primary calling—to turn our attention, so to speak, solely to the workings of our own digestive systems, our private atomized concerns.

So we need the constant help we ask for first thing in the morning—“Lord, open our lips”—Lord, open our hearts, direct and support and strengthen our wills to choose that for which we were made, and not to settle for what is less.

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