It is so easy for our days to become one thing after another, with no time for a break to breathe. We all have so much work do to, so many things we need to get done, that it seems some days like we start up the motor upon rising and keep revving it all day long. I know that when I have a particular project I’m working on, it is easy to get into that mode – do my morning prayer and then go off and running.
One of the wonderful things about staying in a Benedictine Monastery is the Liturgy of the Hours. Here at St. Benedict’s Monastery, in addition to Mass each day, the sisters generally gather for Morning Prayer at 7:00a.m., Noon Prayer at 11:30a.m. and Evening Prayer at 7:00p.m. (There are some variations in the schedule.) I’ve participated in just about all of those prayer sessions since my arrival here on Monday, although I’ve almost been late a few times, as I’ve lost track of time during my writing.
There is something really wonderful about taking time like this several times a day to come together in prayer. Everyone is busy and could be doing something else during that time, but they stop what they are doing for the half hour or so of the prayer period. At most sessions there are in the neighborhood of 100 nuns in the oratory.
These periods of prayer serve both as a reminder of why we are doing the work we are doing and as a chance to express gratitude to God. For me, that includes gratitude for the opportunity to be here in this incredibly hospitable environment to do my work, surrounded by some truly terrific women.