This was my first retreat since last year's staff retreat, so I was very much looking forward to it.
It did not disappoint.
Although the meditations Father Looney preached were quite edifying, perhaps the highlight of the retreat for me personally was the chanting of the Ninth Hour from the Byzantine Horologion (Book of Hours). Two of my co-workers who are Byzantine Catholic had suggested we incorporate this into our retreat, and I'm glad they did.
Praying the Ninth Hour (as with the other hours of the Horologion as well?) calls for numerous prostrations—which is one of the chief reasons why I as a non-Eastern Riter am nonetheless a big fan of Eastern Rite spirituality.
Among the many beautiful prayers that comprise the Ninth Hour is the Prayer of St. Ephrem the Syrian:
O Lord and master of my life! Grant that I may not be infected with the spirit of slothfulness and inquisitiveness, with the spirit of ambition and vain talking.
Grant instead to me your servant the spirit of purity and humility, the spirit of patience and neighborly love.
O Lord and King! Bestow upon me the grace of being aware of my sins and of not thinking evil of those of my brethren; for you are blessed forever and ever. Amen.
O God, have mercy on me a sinner.
Yes, O Lord and King, bestow upon me the grace of being aware of my sins and of not thinking evil of those of my brethren; for you are blessed forever and ever. Amen.
Now that's a prayer.