Our Life of Prayer Called by Joy, Called to Prayer
Entering the monastery we have one desire:
To love God, to experience God, to be with God.
This is the focus of our life of prayer, work and contemplation. It is a call to set apart one’s whole life to oneness with God.
To step beyond the smallness of oneself to grasp the fullness of life, joy and excitement that resides in God. In prayer we place our trust that God can change the course of the world. We live in simple confidence that God is bigger than all the problems or obstacles set before us as individuals or the whole of humanity.
In prayer we lift up the sick to God's healing hands. We open the doors of hope to those in despair, and the gates of heaven for those in darkness. Prayer changes hearts, situations and circumstances. In prayer we can do all that God can do - for prayer is the channel that pours his grace and mercy upon the world.
To commit one's life to God through a life of prayer is a life of unbelievable joy.
Joy because through prayer we place our yesterdays, our today's and our tomorrows in the full security of God's care. We do this not only for ourselves but for the whole of creation.
Without prayer, without trust in God we live in fear. Fear because the pleasures and needs that are met today may be taken from us tomorrow. But prayer keeps us connected to the reality of truth - truth that God holds the world and its wonders securely in his hands. If we truly and totally believe that God is with us, is there room for fear?
To live a life of prayer is to be on the front lines of God's action in the world. It is to deal with the forces of evil with powerful spiritual weapons that put the devil to flight.
In prayer we beg God to bestow faith where there is no faith, hope where there is no hope and love where there is only pain and sorrow.
Can such a life of prayer be accomplished outside of a monastery or convent? Outside of the vows of total religious commitment? Of course. But not easily. Not steadily. Not day by day when you feel like it and when you don't.
In monastic life, prayer is not something that is done on the fringes, when one has time and inclination but rather is the center point from which all other activity rotates.
Thus the hours of prayer, Celebration of Eucharist, meditation and adoration time becomes the “focus” of the community and other things like meals, house work, garden, writing books and working on radio programs and other activities are fitted around the rhythm of lifting our hearts to God throughout the day.
You see the monastery is set up for prayer. Its walls are built not to keep monks and nuns in, so much as to keep the world at a distance.
To create breathing space so prayer can happen. To quiet down the roar of the planet so one can hear the whisper of God.
We pray so as to discover what we already have - the incomparable treasure hidden in the field of the world and of the human heart.
Saint Clare of Assisi
You may think that anyone who enters the monastic life is a strong, disciplined person with a great love of prayer.
Well, the truth is that though many of us wish we were that way, we know very well that left to ourselves we would find all sorts of very important reasons why we can’t pray just now, why this must happen first and that needs to be done right this minute before one could reasonably justify taking some time off to pray! No, like many people if the structure of prayer were not built solidly into our day, our daily schedule, we too would find a thousand reasons not to pray.
Praying every now and then is not hard, but to be consistent about prayer can be very hard indeed.
The one conviction that is needed to live successfully in monastic life is not so much a “love” of prayer but the deep, inner conviction that such prayer is important! Prayer affects not only the root and structure of our life with God but we strongly believe it is a vital need for the world! This is the key to understanding the value of a call to a life of prayer.
We foster our prayer carefully, taking the time and space to
allow it to unfold as we feel God desires it to be.
At least once a year we have a special week of retreat in which we enter even more deeply into prayer. Although we do not leave the monastery, a retreat master will come and guide us for a week along new avenues of spiritual thought and reflection. When possible we have special spiritual conferences or talks from visiting priests or directors throughout the year as well. Our library is constantly growing with new books, CD's, DVD's, tapes and periodicals on spiritual topics.
At certain times throughout the year we pray special novenas. Such as to the Little Flower, the Sacred Heart, Saint Francis, Saint Clare and many other saints. We pray the rosary and many other devotional prayers. When a call for prayer comes in by phone that is especially urgent we will stop what we are doing and gather to pray three Hail Mary's at once and then continue to uphold the person or need throughout the day as we go about our work.
But most important of all is our loving Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
Any time of the day or night we can come into the chapel and be with God. Every morning at seven o'clock we begin our day with a solemn hour of exposition. Throughout the day we pray the Divine Office in the Chapel before the Blessed Sacrament. In prayer time both as a community and individually we are privileged beyond all the wealth of the world to spend precious moments before our God.