A day in the life
I had another ordinary day. I got up before everybody else in the house. Usually, I would open the louver and look out at the spreading glow in the east. The view of the morning would lead me to prayer. But it had rained hard the night before, and an overcast sky was hiding the sunrise.
I just sat down, picked up the Liturgy of the Hours and began reading the Morning Prayer – “Lord, open my lips to praise your holy name…” After this, I should be doing the treadmill, but since I slept late last night and fearing that physical exertion might leave me with not enough energy for the day, I just peeped at our dog, Eve. It was still sleeping, its breakfast would not come until an hour later, so I did not disturb it. Instead, I woke the wife up, made some coffee and listened to the news on the radio.
We left the house at eight o’clock in the morning. Vehicular traffic moved smoothly on the coastal road. The view of the sea and of boats entering and leaving the channel had become daily fare. It never failed to give me an expansive feeling. The daughter listened to rap music on the car radio; the wife and I knew that after we had dropped her at her place of work, we could replace the hip hop with Bach’s Goldberg variations.
Work took up most of the morning and so filled the hours that before I know it lunchtime had come. But I tried to interrupt my activities with a short prayer, in much the same way that, when I am with my wife, I interrupt what I am doing with conversation to make her feel that I have not forgotten her.
Often, in the midst of writing, I would pull out a bookmark, which a friend, a Carmelite nun, had sent me. It contained St. Teresa of Avila’s “Prayer for Humility.” Or else I would glance at my cell phone where I had saved St. Teresa’s “Efficacia de la Paciencia”, lines she had written in her breviary, which include the famous phrase, “Solo Diós basta”.
At three o’clock in the afternoon, the alarm in my cell phone would go off, alerting me to the three o’clock prayer, which likewise I had saved in my cell phone, so that when I read it people would think that I was just checking a text message.
Before long, it was time to go home. The wife passed by me. We would attend a late afternoon Mass, then collect our daughter and head for the coastal road yet again.
Night finds me now before the computer, writing this. At other times I would surf the Web, or else try to put a poem together – and if after several attempts I would come up with something that gives off a spark, my joy would be immeasurable.
Night prayer comes after this, and the singing of the Salve Regina. Then sleep.
I wonder what kind of ordinary day Jesus had. What the Gospels give us are eventful days. For instance, Mark describes to us a day after Jesus’ baptism, after he had called the men who would make up his team. It was a Sabbath, and Jesus taught in the synagogue. Apparently, anyone could teach in the synagogue, but Jesus spoke with an authority that set him apart from the rest. Then Jesus cast out the evil spirit that had possessed a man. Talk spread about the penetration of his mind and the extent of his powers.
Then Jesus visited Simon’s mother-in-law who was in bed with a fever, and healed her. And then she fixed them a little meal. After sunset, Jesus healed the sick that the people had brought to him. Those who were possessed, he cleared of demons.
He got up the next morning while it was still dark, went off to a solitary place and prayed. Perhaps Jesus never had an ordinary day. And for the man that Jesus delivered from the evil spirit, as well as for the crowd that Jesus moved with his words, that day – though it may have begun as an ordinary day – was special.
With the Lord no day is ordinary. And any ordinary day can become special if I open it to the action of his grace.
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