Why Pray?


Our annual summer silent retreat is underway, and we are going to share it with you.

You can make this retreat at home, if you wish, by reading each reflection and taking time to reflect, journal, sit in silence or walk quietly through a beautiful place.

By Sisters Mary Core and Stefanie MacDonald, OSB

Liturgy of the Hours

Benedict writes:

We believe that the divine presence is everywhere
and that “the eyes of the Lord
are looking on the good and the evil in every place” (Prov. 15:3).
But we should believe this especially without any doubt
when we are assisting at the Work of God.
To that end let us be mindful always of the Prophet’s words,
“Serve the Lord in fear” (Ps. 2:11)
and again “Sing praises wisely” (Ps. 46[47]:8)
and “In the sight of the Angels I will sing praise to You” (Ps. 13[14]7:1).
Let us therefore consider how we ought to conduct ourselves
in sight of the Godhead and of His Angels,
and let us take part in the psalmody in such a way
that our mind may be in harmony with our voice. (RB 19)

Prayer is the Work of God, and the pulse of the community. It’s what we entered the Benedictine order to do, and be.

When we devote time every day to our public prayer, Liturgy of the Hours, it changes us, and in doing so, changes the world.

Prayer strengthens our communal spiritual health, both within the cloister walls and without … whether you are a part of a monastic group, a family, a parish or any community.

Our 3-times-daily Liturgy of the Hours is the energy that keeps us going in our ministries. It helps us listen to one another as we pray aloud, so that we speak as one. It keeps us rooted in God and each other.

Private prayer is also key.

Benedict writes:

Let all go out in perfect silence,
and let reverence for God be observed,
so that any sister who may wish to pray privately
will not be hindered by another’s misconduct.
And at other times also,
if anyone should want to pray by herself,
let her go in simply and pray,
not in a loud voice but with tears and fervor of heart. (RB 52)

As Dom John Chapman says, “Pray as you can, not as you can’t.” This is good to remember as we struggle, sometimes, with private prayer. Our minds will wander! Remember that God is sitting with you, fully accepting of who you are and what you do.

Private prayer comes in many forms, but the most important to Benedictine Sisters is Lectio Divina, a method of reading scripture or spiritual texts, walking in nature, or listening to music – in a quiet, receptive stance. Here’s how.

When you set aside time for Lectio, you set aside time to listen to God. Pretty important, wouldn’t you say? We think so too.

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