|Compline, also known as Night Prayer or the Prayers at the End of the Day, is a service of the Divine Office of the Western Christian Church. Derived from the Latin word completorium, Compline prayerfully acknowledges the completion of the working day and is often said just before retiring for the night.
As a way for our Shaughnessy Faith Community to gather again and acknowledge the end of another challenging week, either because of social distancing and isolation or because of worrisome work conditions, we invite you to set aside some time this evening. Take a moment to catch your breath. Settle yourself into a comfortable chair, pour a cup of tea, light a candle, and allow yourself to refresh and nourish your soul. Follow the short service below, listen to the music suggestions via the Youtube links (again, ads are unfortunately unavoidable), and give yourself up to quiet meditation and reflection. And even though we are doing this as individuals, we are also doing this as a faith community, connecting ourselves to each other in prayer and intention.
You are invited to share this service with others.
We ask that anyone using this document, outside of our own SHUC community,
to please acknowledge that this is the work of
Shaughnessy Heights United Church, Vancouver, Canada
SHAUGHNESSY HEIGHTS UNITED CHURCH
PRAYERS AT THE CLOSE OF DAY
Friday, May 15, 2020
Almighty and everlasting God, you have brought me in safety to the end of this week: Preserve me with your strength and in your love, that I may not stray away from you, nor be overcome by adversity; and in all I do direct me to the fulfilling of your purpose. Amen.
Paraphrased from The Divine Hours: Phyllis Tickle
We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.
God is the friend of silence.
See how nature – trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence; see the stars,
the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…
We need silence to be able to touch souls.
– Mother Teresa
Musical Reflection: Dum medium silentium: Plainchant
Translation: While all things were in quiet silence and the night was in the midst of her course, thy Almighty word, O Lord, came down from heaven from thy royal throne. Alleluia.
Herbst Aust | Pixabay
The heavens declare the glory of the Creator;
The firmament proclaims the handiwork of Love.
Day to day speech pours forth and
Night to night knowledge is revealed.
There is no speech, nor are there words.
Their voice is not heard.
Yet does their music go out through all the earth,
And their words to the end of the world.
The law of Love is prefect, reviving the soul;
The testimony of Love is sure, making wise the simple;
The precepts of Love are right, rejoicing the heart;
The authority of Love is pure, enlightening the eyes;
The spirit of Love is wondrous, enduring forever;
The rites of Love are true, awakening compassion
Cleanse me, O Love, from all my hidden faults.
Keep me from boldly acting in error;
Let my fears not have dominion over me.
Then shall I become a beneficial presence,
Freely and fully surrendered to your Love.
Let the words of my mouth
And the meditation of my heart
Find favor in your heart
O my Beloved, my strength and my joy.
Psalm 19 from Psalms for Praying: Nan C. Merrill
Let the Meditations of My Heart: Elaine Hagenberg
11The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the Lord came in the thin voice of silence.
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1 Kings 19:11-12
You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you.
To Bless the Space between Us by John O’Donohue
Over the years when I worked as an artist in elementary schools, I devised an exercise for the children regarding noise and silence. “I’ll make a deal with you”, I said, “first you get to make noise, and then you’ll make silence.
The rules for noise were simple: when I raise my hand, I told them, you make all the noise you can while sitting at your desk, using your mouth, hands, and feet. The kids’ eyes would grow wide – and the teacher’s as well – so I’d add, the important thing is that when I lower my hand you have to stop.
I found that we’d usually have to make two or three attempts to attain an acceptable din – shouting, pounding, stomping. The wonder is, we never got caught. Maybe because the roar last for just a few seconds and school principals assumed that they’d imagined the whole thing.
The rules for silence were equally simple. Don’t hold your breath and make funny faces, I learned to say, as this is how third graders typically imagine silence. Just breath normally but quietly: the only hard thing is to sit so still that you make no noise at all. We always had to try this more than once. A pencil would roll down someone’s desk, or someone would shift in a seat. But in every case but one, over many years, I found that children were able to become so still that silence became a presence in the classroom.
What interests me most about my experiment is the way in which making silence liberated the imagination of many children. Very few wrote with an originality about making noise. Most of their images were clichés, such as “we sound like a herd of elephants.” But silence was another matter; here, their images often had a depth and maturity that was unlike anything else they wrote. One boy came up with an image of strength as being “as slow and silent as a tree,” another wrote that “silence is me sleeping waiting to wake up.” “Silence is a tree spreading its branches in the sun.” In a parochial school one third grader’s poem turned into a prayer: “Silence is spiders spinning their webs, it’s like a silkworm making its silk. Lord help me to know when to be silent.” And in a tiny town of western North Dakota a little girl offered a gem of spiritual wisdom that I find myself returning to when my life becomes too noisy and distractions overwhelm me: “Silence reminds me to take my soul wherever I go.”
Amazing Grace: Kathleen Norris
What Can We Do?
For a peaceful night, we pray.
For a hopeful day, we pray
For a deeper generosity, we pray.
Even When He is Silent: Kim A. Arnesen
The text was found in a concentration camp after World War II.
I believe in the sun, even when it’s not shining.
I believe in love, even when I feel it not.
I believe in God, even when He is silent.
A Closing Prayer
Your word is light as a whisper and sounds without noise; a profound silence is necessary therefore to hear it. O Loving Incarnate word, who once with one movement of Your hand, silenced the winds and calmed the waves, deign to repeat this action in my soul, so that a great calm, a great silence will reign in it.”
-Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity
French Carmelite nun and mystic canonized as a Saint in 2016
Encountering Silence podcasts explore the beauty and importance of silence from many angles, not just the religious/spiritual/mystical, but also reflecting on the psychology of silence, silence and the arts, silence and politics, silence and education.