As Benedictines, our common prayer is central to our charism. The Liturgy of the Hours also called the Divine Office is so much a part of our daily schedule that we sometimes don’t recognize how unique it might be to others outside of our life. The National Religious Vocations Conference reinforced the importance of our common prayer when they shared a recent “Fun Fact Friday“:
What attracts people to religious life? The top two reasons, say new members, are a sense of call and a desire for prayer and spiritual growth
(Source: 2016 USCCB/CARA Profession Class Reports).
When asked what attracted them to religious life, 76% of new entrants identified prayer and spiritual growth as “very much” a part of that attraction. Us too! Benedictines have been gathering for community prayer of the Divine Office for over 1500 years!
Benedict’s Rule established common prayer in the center of his plan for community life. The Rule of Benedict includes at least 20 of his 73 chapters dedicated to the topic of the Divine Office including: the organization of Psalms, the times for prayer, and even seating arrangements at prayer. Our sisters begin the day with Lauds, the morning prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours, and Celebration of the Eucharist with the whole community. After lunch, our sisters gather with their living groups for Noon Praise before continuing their day of service for God’s People. The community returns to Chapel before supper for Vespers, evening prayer. Finally, the day ends with the sisters sharing Compline, night prayer, in their living groups.
81% of New Entrants also identified a sense of a call to religious life as a part of their attraction. In chapter 58 of the Rule of Benedict, our founder connected a person’s sense of call to their dedication to the Work of God (prayer).
“A senior shall be assigned to them who is skilled in winning souls, to watch over them with the utmost care. Let her examine whether the novice is truly seeking God, and whether she is zealous for the Work of God…” (RB 58).
A Sister guides our postulants and novices to help them learn to balance time for prayer, work, and study during their first two years in our Benedictine Community. Sometimes the lessons overlap; they study the Liturgy of the Hours, Psalms, and forms of personal prayer that are traditional to our Benedictine life. This study helps our new members understand the history, tradition, and faith expressed in our communal prayer. It also guides them as they continue to reflect and discern on their sense of call.
Wondering if our life of Liturgy of the Hours and service to the people of God is for you? We invite you to join us for a “Come and See”, some time set apart to reflect on God’s call in your life.
Blessings to you,
Return to “One Heart and One Soul”