Midnight Office

I have a growing appreciation and affection for praying the Midnight Office. It’s neither Compline nor Lauds, neither the end of a day nor the beginning.

During the Evening Offices, the weight of the day’s occurances are nearby in the mind, bringing with them the concerns, problems, and blessings of the day past.

During the Morning Offices there is a certain anticipation for the upcoming day with its schedule, people, meetings, work, and all that we cannot forsee within them.

But at midnight the greatest distraction is your melatonin, and if you can suspend that for fifteen minutes, there is nothing to crowd the mind nor soul. No regret for the past day nor anxiety for the future one. It is peaceful and focused.

St. Mark of Ephesus said regarding the midnight office, “rising from sleep for it, we signify the transportation from the life of the deceit of darkness to the life which is, according to Christ, free and bright, with which we begin to worship God. For it is written, ‘The people who sat in darkness saw a great light (Is. 9:2; Mt 4:16).” From Patrologia Graeca 160, 1165D.

There is also a sense of redeeming the darkness, and filling it with the Light of Christ.

I would encourage you to try this, as I have been encouraged in trying to develop the midnight prayer into my daily cycle.


The Shades of Life

While there are moments of fiery brilliance as seen in the skies posted earlier, so often we must learn to handle the gray shades of life. Beautiful, comfortable, regular they loom above us.

Apparently this is the way the Church is too. For all of the beautiful purples and reds and glorious whites of liturgical colors – green – yes, green – is the color we have for twenty-four weeks straight. Green. The color that the trees are on all regular days. Green. The color of the grass ten months out of the year.

My life has seemed gray of late. Or green. During a season when the green is supposed to be preparing for those few months of brilliant leaves and fall colors, my sky has been gray. It’s a good gray, with subtle shades, but it is not full of passionate oranges and reds. I think I am being a glimpse into so many people’s lives: get up, feed the kids, go to work, get home, make dinner, go to bed; next day: get up, feed the kids, go to work, get home, make dinner, go to bed. Maybe a couple days out of the month have a chisel-tipped pink highliter scratch over them – but most are the same.

I don’t want that life. So, how do I make my gray more brilliant? Is it simply by seeing the myriad of colors that go into gray? Or that rainbows are most clearly seen peeking through the gray skies? I think I am going to try to be alright with gray. Try to makethe grays beautiful in a grayish way. I’ll tell you if I start seeing rainbows.