One characteristic of love is to want to share what is critical with those whom you value most. I wanted to share an aspect of prayer that is part of our Benedictine/Cistercian/Carthusian heritage. I came across this YouTube of a Cistercian monastery, one which you can see and hear how they created space to lift up the voice and thus the spirit to the Father through Christ Jesus.
I am struck by how these Cistercian monks actually build a way for the mind to aspire to what is higher. I attached this photo. The Abbey Church is devoid of color and its glass is clear. The whole theology of light and space lifts the heart and mind to God without any effort. The walls are designed for echoes. How stunning! Cistercian architecture is minimalist but austere and without color, no statues or stained glass windows portraying a story about Jesus. I asked one of the monks at Our Lady of the Holy Spirit about that, and he told me that I needed to supply the color in my mind and heart. As St. Benedict says in Chapter 4 of the Rule, “Prefer nothing to the love of Christ.”
Just “listen with the ear of the heart.”
Notice the blue color. The monks had to receive special permission to use color in their windows due to the intense Georgia heat in the Summer. Normally, Cistercians’ windows are clear.