(Monday, May 15)
This Monday I’m still thinking about yesterday’s Gospel-reading, about the Samaritan Woman. She came to the well “at about the sixth hour,” at around noon (Jn 4:6). This has me thinking about the blessings and challenges of midday prayer, traditionally known as The Sixth Hour or “Sext” in Western traditions. (Fun fact: the term “siesta” comes from the Western prayer-tradition of “Sext.”) I find it is often hard to remember to pray in the middle of the day, because we tend to be in the middle of things. Traditionally, the Sixth Hour or noon, at which the sun is at its brightest and hottest, is considered an hour of intense temptation, an hour of “the noonday demon” (Ps 90:6, LXX) or of “the destruction that lays waste at noonday” (Ps 91:6, NKJV). It is also the hour at which Christ was nailed to the Cross. But as mentioned above, it is also the hour of one woman’s encounter with Christ at a well just outside Sychar in Samaria, while she was going about her daily chores.
This week, I will remember this encounter as I (re)focus on a bit of prayer in the middle of my workday. Regardless of what is going on in my schedule, I will remember to ask for His “living water,” for His grace and wisdom, that I may worship Him “in Spirit and truth” in the middle of my day, when I might be experiencing various forms of spiritual “thirst.” I mean, various forms or manifestations of the privation of God’s grace, like self-centered fear, annoyances with others, procrastination, despondency, etc. “Lord, give me this water,” also in the middle of my day, “that I may not thirst!”