The Liturgy is the public worship of God. It provides the time frame of the day, punctuated by liturgical prayers, and of the year as the annual liturgical cycle blends with the changing natural seasons in a rhythm of life, death, new life. The monk is moulded by this rhythm and his prayer is taken up into that of Christ and the Church far beyond the limits of his individual concerns. He stands before God with and on behalf of all. Like Christ, he assumes and sometimes experiences in the nakedness of his solitude their sufferings and weaknesses as well as their hope and faith. It is from this place that his prayer in Christ has redemptive power beyond his knowing.

“The Liturgy is at once both the end to which the action of the Church tends and at the same time the source from which flows all her strength. We, who have left everything to seek God alone and to possess him more fully, should carry out the liturgical functions with particular reverence. For when we accomplish the Liturgy, especially the Eucharistic celebration, we have access to the Father through his Son, the Word Incarnate who suffered and was glorified, in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Thus we achieve communion with the Most Holy Trinity.” (Statutes, 41.1)

We celebrate in the church these three offices: conventual mass in the morning, Vespers in the evening, and the night office: Matins and Lauds (0.30 am --3.30 am); the other minor offices (Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Compline) are said in solitude. In all, 4 - 5 hours a day. The offices are sung in very ancient Gregorian chant, the figured music in Latin, without the use of any musical instruments. The psalmody is in English as well as the readings. It is a time for prayer of and for the Church and all humankind: the voice of praise of the whole universe.

The Eucharistic celebration in particular gathers the prayer of the Church and the life-prayer of each monk up into the movement of Christ to the Father and consecrates it by the Spirit. Here the community has its source, and the whole Church is invisibly present.”

There is a symbiosis between community prayer and solitary prayer. Both express the same reality, the paschal prayer of Christ, his Spirit praying in us. “For, in our weakness, we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words, and God who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Rom 8:26-27)


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