Welcome! Today has a nice monastic “ring” to it . . . we should be able to hear the bells before we are done!
Today we are making a fourth list. Very likely many of the elements of today’s list are to be found on the ones you have already made, but today we look at
The elements of a well-rounded devotional life.
Take time to compose this fourth list for yourself, if you wish, or here is the one we observe in this at-home expression of Cor Unum.
Prayer . . . family Prayer
Prayer . . . intercession
Prayer . . . for the nations
Examination of Conscience
Half-Day in Council
Certainly, some of the necessary categories, such as “Work” and “Study,” have more time and several intervals dedicated to them and some, like “Proclamation” can have less, but these we have found to be the rudiments of a well-balanced spiritual life. Some, of course, will need a spot of explanation! We are about to make the discovery of how many of these we can actually work into the fabric of each day. You may be surprised to see how well these will "shuttle" into places you hadn't thought could work on the loom!
Over time we judge by what items we would want to LEAVE OFF! Do we want to stop sitting quietly before God, simply to be with Him and without any other agenda? That is “Stillness,” and we don’t want to lose that; “Stillness” is one of the most revitalizing practices of our day. That category gets two daily intervals.
We know that if we do not eat well or sleep well, all the other categories of our Divine Office are at risk, so those are fixed. We aren’t always “Fasting,” but in one form or another, it is a part of most of the year. We may sometimes “fast” all but necessary shopping or reading or coffee, but we try to live a fasted lifestyle, because we have learned the difference that even small fasts can make.
Our “Prayer” categories can often be even more than those.
It looks impossible, doesn’t it? Guess what? So far, it usually is, but it is quite amazing how far we’ve come toward incorporating all these avenues of devotional life into each week, and with a full day’s work ongoing. It was worth a try, to put it mildly. In the days ahead, we will take a look at these warping strands through which our monastic days are woven. Perhaps we can see together how the most important things can be done and the wonderful others can become a part of the finished tapestry! For now, please share your own monastic must-haves . . . here in Cor Unum, Monastery of the Heart.
Tapisserie de l'apocalypse
Kimon Berlin, by permission