The Constant Interruption of Benedictine Prayer

Benedictine Sisters Jackie Walsh Claudia Scharf Catherine Cleary Susan Hutchens (piano) Stefanie MacDonald at LaudsBy Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

As Benedictine Sisters, we come together 3 times a day (4 on Sunday) to pray in chapel. This wonderful rhythm of prayer dates back to St. Benedict’s time. Called Liturgy of the Hours, or the Divine Office, or Opus Dei, we pray the psalms and other Scriptures morning, noon and evening.

Young Benedictine Sisters and Brothers often feel a sense of interruption when the bell rings mid-day for prayer. It interrupts our work! Recently Abbot Phillip – during a homily as celebrated Mass with us – admitted to feeling that way as a young monk himself.

But over the years, he said he came to realize that his project or activity would get completed in plenty of time, and that stopping for prayer was very nourishing. “It brings us back to God,” he said. “It reminds us that it is in God that we do our work; in God we find focus.”

Abbot Phillip is right on! I find if I don’t start my day with Lauds in chapel with my Sisters, my focus is on other things. That is, my worries, my to-do list, my students take center stage without the foundation of communal prayer.

Look, all we do is for, with, in and of God. When we don’t pause to pray, we let our minds take control of us. We obsess. We worry. We lose our balance.

When we pause for Lauds, Noonday Prayer, and Vespers, we stop to remember and refocus ourselves. God is with us, and we are with God.

If you feel called to explore this lifestyle, contact me. I’m happy to share all I know!!!!

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