During one of our Gathering Days of Lay Cistercians at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery (www.trappist.net), one of our members asked the question about the difficulty of keeping to a schedule to do Cistercian practices. The question also plagues me and how I confront trying to have silence and solitude in a world whose attention span is less than ten seconds. Here are some of the issues that I have solved for myself and some that still need to be addressed.
I am not a monk but a Lay Cistercian, retired, over 80 years old, living with past history of cardiac arrest (Widowmaker) and Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (arrested) with a pacemaker put in in August of 2020. This is what I must work with as I try to seek God every day.
Some days are better than others. The ole temple of the Holy Spirit has lots of wear and tear over the years and has weathered many storms. It is continuity with my center that keeps me grounded in the source of my spirituality, i.e., “Have in you the mind of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:)
I don’t know, nor do I now care, what events or happenings come my way each day (e.g., COVID 19, my cancer, my cardiac arrest, a rock falling from the sky and destroying all humanity, my death). What does matter is that Jesus died for me just so I could have the opportunity to be called an adopted son (or daughter) of the Father and to be happy in Heaven forever.
Death is one of four door through which I must pass:
Everything else is just superfluous to my center, important, but still tangential.
Being part of a local community of Faith helps me be consistent with my daily practices. Remember, I am retired so I am all the time there is to seek God each day. We share Liturgy of the Hours (Office of Readings, Morning Prayer in the AM and Evening Prayer in the PM) in a group setting at our local Church. Until COVID 19 hit, I was a regular. Now, I guess I am irregular. I do have a plan to begin my consistency very soon again.
I read Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict each day (in addition to my community prayers).
I write down my blog Lectio Divina experiences every day, if possible.
I don’t follow a timetable or a schedule for completion of the Cistercian practices right now, but that will change when I return to my community prayer continuity.
Brother Michael O.C.S.O. told us that we should pray as we can and not as we should. My emphasis is seeking God daily as I can and where I am.