Developing a practice of praying the psalms – the 150 prayer-poems from the Hebrew Scriptures – in the Divine Office has been a gift of Dominican life. The psalms reflect the broad range of human emotions: jubilation, anger, gratitude, loneliness, awe, and more. There is no tidying up raw emotion – the psalms give prayerful voice to all of these feelings authentically and fully.
Recently, I have been appreciative of the psalms of lament which have been used for millennia in praying through grief and loss. Moreover, as I begin to study Dominican life in earnest here at the Collaborative Dominican Novitiate, I’ve been reminded that St. Dominic prayed and preached with tears.
I was received as a novice and sent to begin my canonical year with an outpouring of loving support and a solid week of joyful celebrations, which filled my heart with gratitude. Yet, the events of the past week have brought me back to our rich Judeo-Christian tradition of lamentation. Charlottesville, Virginia was my home and place of ministry for ten years. I hold both the excitement of this new step on the discernment journey and lamentation at the violent display of white supremacy in a city I deeply love. The psalms guide us in bringing all our emotions – even or especially when they are contradictory and complex – before our loving and merciful God.
Where are you called to pray with tears? How do you practice lament personally and collectively?
Sr. Rhonda Miska
St. Louis, MO