The antiphon for the first psalm for today's Morning Prayer is My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready.
I read the antiphon this morning and my immediate reaction was a recoil. "No, it isn't. Not even close. My heart is no where near ready." There are too many things in it, on it, around it. At best it is a divided heart, not a simple heart--a singular gift for a Simple God.
I couldn't pray this in all honesty. But also in all honesty, I could say, "I want my heart to be ready, O God, make my heart ready." That, I could say because it true at the core, at the very marrow of bones. I want to be ready, I know I am not. My heart is half hard, half missing--a rocky field fit only for weeds and dodder--a shadow life thrown into relief by the season in which shadows are drawn more sharply and light is more visible.
Lately I've been pondering whether I would be ready to die, were I suddenly taken. The thought of facing Judgment scares me, frankly. I am not prepared to see God face to face. There was a time when I would feel secure after I'd received absolution, because my soul was clean. That doesn't seem enough now, on my part.
My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready. I'll always link this verse with the scene in The Passion where Jesus whispers it in the pause before the whips fall on his back. Can anyone ever be ready to be beaten to a pulp? Perhaps this is one of those prayers that God realizes even as we pray it.