Benedictine contemplative pace lets Sacred soak in

By Sister Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

stef-and-marilyn-ring-in-chapelI’ve been at a conference on religious life this week with Sisters from 57 different communities.

While informative, it’s also been a little jarring for this Benedictine.

Why? 2 reasons.

First, although all the communities here pray together every day, they pray at a fast pace.

This is much different from the Benedictine practice of praying at a contemplative pace, slowly, thoughtfully. There is a beat and tempo to it.

Benedictines pause briefly between each line and phrase, and longer between prayers. These are treasured moments during which the sacred words can soak in. It really puts me in the presence of God.

And 2nd, at this conference, there is no silence. Oh, my goodness.

Benedictines value silence as part of their contemplative lifestyle. We talk, of course, but not constantly. And we practice complete silence from about 10 pm (unless we’re enjoying a movie or something together) until after morning prayers.

Finally, the chapel is silent before prayers, allowing Sisters to ready themselves to pray with the community.

Contemplative practices are one of the Benedictines’ gifts to the church. We would love to have you experience it for yourself with us. Contact me any time: smacdonald@smmsisters.org or (309) 283-2300.

One thought on “Benedictine contemplative pace lets Sacred soak in

  1. Speed reading is not recommended when praying the psalms and the Gospels. It takes time for me to figure out where I fit in each reading, and when I do, I feel that God is speaking directly to me. It’s a powerful experience, and it’s very Benedictine.

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