Monks in ChoirSimply put, prayer is the way in which human beings seek to raise their hearts and minds to God. There are all sorts of ways of doing this. Some like to pray using familiar words of prayers like the Our Father.  Others prefer to express themselves more freely, using their own words. However we do it, the important thing is to put ourselves in the presence of God and open our hearts to Him, knowing that He is with us as a merciful Father who always loves us and knows us better than we do ourselves. We will often realize that the words are not all that important; God knows what we want to say, and there is more to share with Him than we can ever put into words. So it is not surprising that when we pray we find it easier to use words less and less and to pray in silence.

The worship of God is at the center of Benedictine life and in the Divine Office we praise God who has created us, redeemed us and given us a share in His life. The Divine Office is a term used by St Benedict to refer to the regular times of common prayer in the monastery. He also calls it the “work of God,” and it is the most important work a monk does in the monastery.

St Paul told the early Christians to pray constantly. St Benedict suggests seven times a day when his monks would come together to pray: at daybreak (Lauds); the start of the morning (Prime); during the working day at the third, sixth and ninth hours (Terce, Sext, None); as afternoon turns to evening (Vespers) and before going to bed (Compline). He also kept to the monastic tradition of a long time of prayer during darkness: monks were to get up very early for Vigils. Due to the regularity of these hours of prayer, the Divine Office is also known as the Liturgy of the Hours. These times are a way of making every day holy to God; they remind that we look to God for the meaning and direction of our lives; God always comes first and whatever we do is secondary to Him.

During these times, above all, a monk listens to God and to His word in the Bible. This is the heart of every time of prayer. To prepare himself to listen, the monk sings psalms and other songs from the Bible. The Psalms help focus the mind on God and to provide a stable source for prayer, for they express a wide variety of emotions, thoughts and aspirations. We remember our need for God’s help, we thank Him for His mercy and kindness, and together with the rest of the Church we pray for the whole world.

Chant is one of the most distinctive features of monastic life in all religions and Gregorian chant in particular has been one of the defining elements of Benedictine life. For monks and others who join us, it is a way of prayer, combining both a contemplative and an active dimension.  Monastic music helps us to express our human passions and to ground them in the poetry of the liturgy; music helps the work of prayer transform us. This explains the peace many people find in monastic chant; it brings into harmony the discordant noise of the human spirit.  We would be honored to have you as our guest when we pray the Liturgy of the Hours.  Simply show-up in the choir area at least ten minutes before the start of the respective service and one of the monks will help you set the prayer book to participate.  Here is a list of times for each of our services:

Monday – Friday

5:45 AM          Morning Prayer

6:35 AM          Conventual Mass

11:50 AM        Noon Prayer & Angelus

5:30 PM           Office of Readings & Angelus

7:05 PM           Sung Vespers (evening prayer)

Saturday Schedule

6:45 AM          Morning Prayer

7:30 AM          Conventual Mass

11:50 AM        Noon Prayer & Angelus

5:30 PM           Office of Readings & Angelus

7:05 PM           Sung Vespers (evening prayer)

Sunday Schedule

6:45AM           Office of Readings & Morning Prayer

10:45AM         Community Mass

5:35PM            Benediction

7:05PM            Sung Vespers (evening prayer)