The oratory

St Benedict says in Chapter 52 of his Rule that “if at other times than at the Work of God someone chooses to pray privately, he may simply go in and pray.”

This one word “simply” betokens St Benedict’s always-and-everywhere, almost prosaic intention for his monks, in whatever area of monastic life, to just get on with it, transcending self. The drawing-toward, the initiative, is all on God’s side; it is left to us to respond with as much directness and as little self-conscious drama as possible.

As for the oratory itself, the chapel with its chairs ranged around the altar encloses the largest contiguous open space in the monastery.

Contemplative monastics are sometimes asked “why don’t you go out and do something useful, since there is so much need in the world?” So with the monastery chapel, since in other areas of the monastery some things can be fitted in only with a shoehorn—what is all this blank space about?

This arrangement is iconic of the contemplative life itself: one room, one life given over to nothing and to no other purpose than the praise of God, and all that entails.

Recent Issues

December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

December 2017

November 2017

October 2017

September 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015