I am an early riser. The best time of the day is that silent hour just before dawn. The night is almost done, and there is an expectant longing for the greying of the eastern sky that heralds the new day.  It is the time par excellence to immerse in the silence. This is the hour to “serve the Lord in awe, and to rejoice with trembling” (Psalm 2).

It is also an opportune time to acquaint oneself with the latest news of world and local events, and gossip, to get ready for dealing with whatever the new day may bring. Time to read the newspapers. Over the years the ritual of reading news and views in The Australian slowly but surely put the squeeze on hanging out with God.

The Australian is a fairly conservative newspaper based on a worldview centre to right of centre. It’s reporting is truthful and balanced. It has become a credible and trusted companion, my preferred window on a sometimes chaotic world. Hanging out with The Australian has become an enjoyable daily pastime.

I have cancelled my subscription to The Australian.

Recently this paper carried an article about an issue I am personally familiar with. It was was deeply disappointing to realise that my trust had been misplaced. The story wasn’t fair and balanced at all.

As you sow, so you shall reap.

The upside is that I have lots of time now to devote to more important things. From my youth I remembered the simple joy that comes with praying the ancient monastic ‘hours’, Matins at the beginning of the day and Compline at the end. There are a number of sites on the internet nowadays where one can participate in these timeless rituals. I love the chanting of the monks of Le Barroux, or the sober and serene morning and evening prayer on The London Internet Church.

The endless and neurotic chattering of the papers has ceased. Instead, in the silence of the night a confession is heard: “Safe and sound, I lie down and sleep, for You alone Lord keep me secure” (Psalm 4).

Before the ending of the day, Creator of the world, we pray (Compline hymn)

Before the ending of the day, Creator of the world, we pray (Compline hymn)