... in St Benedict

Published on 16 Jul 2020
A Benedictine monastery in Italy.

I was still getting dressed when I heard my parish priest say, ‘Good Morning’. 

I grabbed my dressing gown and settled down by the computer for morning prayer.  By this time the bishop had joined in on Skype and pointed out that it was the feast of St Benedict, patron saint of Europe, who taught us to learn to live in peace with ourselves, our neighbour and God through the practice of humility.  How apposite is that!

Lockdown has made spiritual hermits of all who do not have access to the internet, while those who do, have the joy of inviting God into their homes during online services.

St Benedict ordered a bell to be rung to warn his monks that time for prayer had come; how good it is to be able to get on with your work knowing that you will not miss your prayers.  He structured the prayer around the psalms, which express, each in its own way, all aspects of prayer, and all our different states of life.

I do not normally read the Divine Office, but during lockdown morning prayer became the foundation stone of my day.  It got me out of bed (sometimes I am ready and dressed in good time!) and sorted my tumbled feelings in conversation with the psalmist.

Whether or not we say the psalms today, that solid discipline is the foundation on which all other prayer is built.