Thursday, July 19, 2007

Compline -- the night office

It's a restless night tonight. As I'm typing, it is 2:30 a.m. and I'm nowhere near sleep. I'm not sure why. I'm not worried about anything. I don't have any exciting thing going on that's making my mind whirl around like a hamster on a wheel. I feel perfectly fine.

I just can't sleep!

Since I'd almost finished my entire book -- a mystery story, seeing as how I've suddenly taken against chick lit and have happily moved on to murder, should this worry me? -- I decided to come to the computer and do one of my favorite things, which is key random thoughts into Google.

I admit that my first random thought was shallow. I typed "Wade Robson bio" into the Google search field. Wade Robson is the choreographer whose clever, creative work I admire so much on So You Think You Can Dance. It turns out that he is only twenty-four years old. Imagine! And also that Britney Spears cheated on Justin Timberlake with him, back in the good old days before she married whatsizname and started going about in public with uncombed hair and mocha frappuccino stains down the front of her t-shirts and a Marlboro Light hanging out the side of her mouth.

You just never know what you're going to find out in a Google search.

But while I'm always your girl for a dishy bit of celebrity gossip (I know, Kayte, I know. I can't help it, that's all), I was in the mood for something a little bit deeper. So next I typed in "evening prayers."

This search turned up a really nice online breviary, which is the collection of the daily prayers of the Church, going from early matins all the way through the day until compline.

Since it is, after all, the middle of the night, I clicked on the button for Compline and found this hymn, prayed in monasteries and convents and rectories and and even private homes around the world for, oh, only around 1000+ years or so. It is beautiful, so restful and comforting that I think just reading the words of this ancient song will allow me to say "Amen" and then go on up to bed.

Hymnus

Te lucis ante términum,
Rerum Creátor, póscimus,
Ut pro tua cleméntia
Sis præsul et custódia.

Procul recédant sómnia,

Et nóctium phantásmata;
Hostémque nostrum cómprime,
Ne polluántur corpora.

Præsta, Pater piíssime,
Patríque compar Unice,
Cum Spíritu Paráclito
Regnans per omne sæculum.
+Amen+

Which means:

The Hymn

Before the ending of the day,
Creator of the world, we pray
That thou with wonted love wouldst keep
Thy watch around us while we sleep.

O let no evil dreams be near,
Nor phantoms of the night appear;
Our ghostly enemy restrain,
Lest ought of sin our bodies stain.

Almighty Father, hear our cry,
Through Jesus Christ our Lord most high,
Who, with the Holy Ghost and thee,
Doth live and reign eternally.
+Amen+

Out of all the many things in this world I love -- my husband and children and other family members; the ocean; the way libraries smell and the excited feeling I always have when surrounded by books and books and books to read; the sound of rain in the night; the sigh of a contented dog or toddler settling down to sleep; "Shambala" by Three Dog Night; writing without a deadline; the taste of pistachios and the sweet scent of a baby's head and so many other things -- the thing I love most is being Catholic.

Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

And good night.

3 comments:

Kbg said...

"Te lucis ante términum" and this, Shelley, is why we all just love you so much...we never know if we are going to get beautiful Latin prayers or the latest Brittany Spears news...you keep us on our toes wondering what on earth is going to come next...and we all LOVE it! (And, your list of favorite things you love flies here, too!) It's fun just knowing you...you add a depth to my life that would be sadly missing if you were no longer around...for one thing, I would never know anything about Brittany Spears, which means I would miss all those questions on Jeopardy!

Shelley said...

Okay, well the first thing you need to know is that her name is spelled Britney.

And the reason why I am interested in shallow celebrity news is because I pray for them. Yeah.

Kbg said...

Ah, okay, I got it...Britney Spears and not like Brittany Spaniel...LOL! It's a good thing they have the spelling different so you can be sure not to mix them up at all. See...this is why it is good to know you.