Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The Liturgy of Life

When Miriam Therese Winter came to present for our April community weekend, she talked about how we need to turn life into a liturgy. While the Eucharistic liturgy is most central to our monastic life, the Liturgy of the Hours is our daily form of communal worship. With its "hours" marked by different prayers (read more specifics here), the Divine Office, as it is also named, calls monastics to prayer throughout the day. As I reflected on our visit to our sisters in Port Allegany this weekend I realized that I found a liturgy of life there.

Lauds
Early, early in the morning, you could look out the front window for a most beautiful view, including stars in the lingering darkness of the sky. Their chapel is in the front of the house. My favorite thing hanging on the walls is a favorite quote from The Little Prince.

Prime
Both mornings when we woke up, I got to fry up fresh eggs from the farm where our sisters live. With fresh coffee and peaches, plus good conversation, I couldn't have asked for a better breakfast! That long, thin, white line that you see horizontally across the center of the picture is bales of hay wrapped up.

Terce
On Sunday morning, we traveled to the small town of Genesee for Mass. Our bishop was presiding, and the community had a lovely gathering with hospitality after the liturgy ended. I think it was the smallest parish I've ever seen; I stood in the last row of pews to take this picture!

Sext
In the middle of the day on Saturday, we traveled into town to buy corn from a local grower. I was grateful to feast on so much fresh corn over the weekend. We also feasted on fresh tomatoes from the garden. Yum!

None
We were able to take two walks along the road Friday and Saturday afternoon. Going just a little north, we came across a church with an old cemetery. You could barely even read some of the tombstones since the dates were from the 1800's.

Vespers
Yes, we did pray, too! It was actually my favorite thing about the weekend. This was because we prayed from the same psalter that we use at the Mount, at the same time that our community prays. It created an authentic connection that was quite powerful for me. The family dog, Ben, the most gentle dog I've ever met, even came inside to pray with us!

Compline
Before we retired, we played a few games, including a favorite: Rummikub. Then, before we went to sleep, we prayed a short version of Compline, which included the Salve Regina. Of course, as we played games, we could always see some life outside the window. Here are the alpacas that live on the farm.

Matins
One sad part of farming has to be separating the mother cows from the calves. This just happened to happen on Saturday during our stay. Throughout the entire night, we could hear the mothers crying for their children - so sad! You can see some of the herd closer and in the distance.

What a liturgy we experienced!

Let us walk in the holy presence.