"I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'Son, let this woman be a bride to you in the restoration of my people. Let her be a mother for these people, regenerating souls through the salvation of spirit and water.'" (Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias)

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Wisdom Psalms: 100

(Image: St. John's Bible)

1 Be joyful in Wisdom, all you lands; *
serve Wisdom with gladness and come before Her presence with a song.

2 Know this: Wisdom Herself is God; *
She Herself has made us, and we are Hers; we are Her people and the sheep of Her pasture.

3 Enter Her gates with thanksgiving; go into Her courts with praise; *
give thanks to Her and call upon Her Name.

4 For Wisdom is good; Her mercy is everlasting; *
and Her faithfulness endures from age to age.

This is my daily Lauds (Morning Prayer) psalm this Lent--begun to help me memorize it but continued with deeper meaning as I continue to heal and build my friendship with God and engage my Lenten practices in a positive and joyous way. It's taken from my divine feminine translation/adaptation of the prayer book of Jesus, Mary, and their church: Wisdom's Psalter: Praying the Psalms with Mother God--the first full version to use feminine God-language. I had loved the psalms and liturgy of the hours with a passion since being gifted my first breviaries (one from a high school nun and one from a Christian family role model aunt and uncle!) sophomore year of college. But the traditional masculine God language had become a painful distraction, and the lovely gender neutral adapations no longer fed my starving heart. So I began creating it when Katie was a baby, sitting in St. Ignatius church in Portland on Good Friday, which was also Annunciation, waiting for the liturgy to begin.

I was rejoicing in our liturgically appropriate discernment on a mall date earlier that day to begin the complicated process that led to the brief and beautiful life of Julian, our beloved second son and fourth born child. I had my pretty little Book of Common Prayer with me, opened it to Psalms, and found that in order to pray with them I had to physically cross out the "he's" and "Lord's" and replace them with more inclusive options. It was cathartic but also labor intensive and after scribbling my way through a half dozen I realized that this was a more complex project than anticipated and started creating my own book of psalms, which evolved through many versions before moving beyond making my own prayer possible to sharing it with others. It's been literally self-published for some time, with the hardcopy being printed out and spiral-bound at Staples and the e-book a pdf, but I am now in the exciting process of adapting it and the companion piece, Wisdom's Rosary: Praying the Beads with Mother God for Kindle. You can contact me at lauraATgrimesDOTws if you are interested in purchasing the present version or being notified when the Kindle book is available.

Postscript on the two breviaries: I gave the extra to one of my best friends from Christian Life Community, the widespread Ignatian prayer group formerly known as Sodality of Our Lady, with whom I also attended several "come and see" vocation retreats with the Holy Cross Sisters who taught her in high school. We each attended daily mass throughout the four years, though often different ones, and she played flute in the folk group that I sang with my first two years and co-led my last two. We also lived together in a wonderful prayerful, coed community senior year in a house rented from a history professor teaching abroad. She discerned a call to religious life and is part of the same community today, while I discerned that my vocation was to be a physical and spiritual mother, theologian, and spiritual director. I still remember the night I washed and massaged her feet in the sweet darkness of the family room when she came home late after the bittersweet experience of breaking the news to her boyfriend. We even had the joy of experiencing formation together after graduation--to which we characteristically arrived late, with the small group of Religious Studies majors who knew me well saving my seat--since her postulate and novitiate happened on the campus of St. Mary's College across the street from Notre Dame. It was a lovely source of support though I do recall being jealous at times of the financial security and copious opportunities for travel, study and spiritual formation her vow of poverty, like that of a Jesuit in my doctoral program, made possible-in comparison to my frugal life supplementing a tiny graduate school stipend with work savings from early college graduation!

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