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The solution to routine

What can we do concretely, so that praying the Psalms becomes an inexhaustible fountain of life? What can be done so that the words of the Psalms will not become “worn out” with their daily usage? In other words, what can we do to help The Liturgy of the Hours become the table where our consecrated brothers and sisters can nourish and strengthen their friendship with the Lord?

Routine is the very first enemy we encounter. What measures do we put in place to defeat it? Firstly, how do we define “routine,” how does it come about and what is its nature?

Against all appearances, I could state that the main objection against routine is not in the repetition. Between two people that love each other with great passion, the phrase “I love you”, repeated five thousand times would probably have more content and life when last said that when said the first time. We spend five thousand days sharing life with a person we love very much. On the last day that person will awaken more emotion in us than on the first. The biographers of St Francis of Assisi state that through the night he would repeatedly say: “My God and my all.” At dawn, when he said it for the last time, it is very probable that this expression would hold much more meaning for him than when he first said it.

The profound answer, the real secret is always found within man himself. The solution to routine, that is, the novelty, has to come from inside him. The most beautiful scenery, when seen through the eyes of a sad spectator, will always be sad scenery. For the melancholic, the most splendid spring will always appear to be a lazy autumn.

When all is said and done, what matters is the capacity to be surprised; this capacity that gives life to situations marked by repetition, which gives a new name to each thing, and to the same thing, experienced a thousand times, gives it a thousand different names. It is an inexhaustible recreation of things. The problem comes, then, from within.

A psalm, prayed with an empty heart, is an empty psalm, regardless of how many additives and spices you add to it. A psalm, resounding in a heart full of God, remains engulfed within the divine presence and the more this heart is filled with divine favor, the more each one of its words is going to be filled with God.

Extracted from the book “Psalm for life” by Father Ignacio Larrañaga


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