I’m always pleased to see a new post up from Amy Welborn and here she touches on something very close to my heart, the simplicity and fullness there for us in the Morning and Evening Prayers as we join our prayers to those of the universal Church:
We can offer up our relatives, friends and enemies, we can pray for the suffering throughout the world, we can offer God our own personal gratitude, hopes and sorrows, and then, stepping into the liturgy, join them to the prayers of the whole Body of Christ. When we do this, we who “do not know how to pray as we ought” learn how to pray and are shaped by the Spirit in that prayer.
When we reflect on how the Holy Spirit acts in our lives, I think we should be wary of an overly individualistic take. The way I have come to understand it is that the Spirit was poured out on the Church – the Church as a whole – and that the primary way that I, as an individual, encounter the Holy Spirit is through the prayer, works of mercy and big T Tradition of that Church.
So in that light, it just seems to me that praying the amazing and rich liturgical prayers of the Church – from the Mass to the Liturgy of the Hours and other forms – is an encounter with the Holy Spirit that shapes me, if I am open, at my deepest level.