A monk is a Christian who believes that all of us who are baptised into Christ are one in him. We form his body. The monk devotes himself to a life of prayer and reflection on the things of God and to a life of dedicated fraternal service. Basic Christian values. But the monk is convinced he is never alone in what he does. In that Body of Christ, if one member does something good for Christ the whole Body benefits. But no one of us can do everything. Some people can do a lot of good for Christ in service in the local community and so make the whole Body more really Christ the servant. The monk believes that if he gives himself to prayer and reflection on the things of God, then the whole Body draws closer to God our Father.
So that’s why we are here and what we are trying to do.
Our daily round, our timetable makes concrete what we are trying to do for the benefit of the human family. We come together as a community and with our guests in the monastery chapel for prayer services seven times a day. These prayer times are spent singing the psalms, with hymns, scripture readings, intercessions and readings from the Fathers of the Church or lives of the saints. The content of these community prayer times varies according to the seasons of the Christian year, Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, and whether the day is Sunday, weekday or a feast day.
The monk supplements the times of community prayer with periods spent in personal private prayer. He also spends time in reading the scriptures or books that will nourish his prayer life.
We also take seriously our duty to support ourselves and even generate income that can be shared with others more needy than ourselves. This is where the monk’s work on the farm, the land, the garden or orchard comes in. We try to do our work in an atmosphere of prayer in the presence of God, so that is why it is all done within the confines of the monastery and without too much involvement in the world around us.
Oh yes! We forgot to say that there is a great monastic tradition of praying in the night, bringing the light of Christ into the darkness of the night, just as Jesus rose from the dead before dawn, and promised to return in the middle of the night. The monk is the watchman always on the lookout. So the timetable – well, it begins rather early for this reason.