The Hours of the Office
(PRAISE OF THE RESURRECTION)
At 6:30 A.M., we assemble for Lauds and the celebration of the Eucharist. Both Springtime and daybreak inspire a yearning for new life. Lauds praises Christ's victory of life over death and evil. Each day the Mass reveals anew God's plan of salvation by the scripture readings. The Mass makes Our Lord's redeeming sacrifice present again on the altar. The Eucharist deepens communion with God and each other, as we pray the Our Father together and receive the Body and Blood of Christ. After Mass, there is time for thanksgiving, breakfast, and personal study. The new men prepare class work for their initial monastic formation program.
(THE HOLY SPIRIT COMES UPON THE CHURCH)
The monks begin the morning work with Terce at 9 A.M., by praying for the Holy Spirit's strength and guidance for themselves and others. We have supported ourselves for two decades by baking a gourmet fruitcake. The recipe was developed with the help of Jean-Pierre Auge of St. Louis, former chef of the Duke of Windsor. Separate crews bake and decorate, package and wash up. We make 125 cakes daily Monday through Friday, from February until December. Our bakery building was completed as the first stage of our construction program. We are also assigned the various tasks needed in community living, such as cooking and house cleaning, mechanical repair and yard work, bookkeeping and business office.
At 11:45, the community gathers to pray for God's blessing halfway through the day. The monks eat their main meal at noon. The monks eat in silence as another monk gives a reading. Our guests are served their food in the common dining room of our retreat house wing. The guests can also choose to eat in a silent dining room. Retreatants come primarily from the 8 state area around us, both men and women, Catholic and non-Catholic. They seek spiritual peace, listening to the voice of God in their hearts and in Scripture, in His creation and in their fellow seekers.
(THE HOUR OF REDEMPTION AND MERCY)
We are free until 2P.M. A monk may take a siesta, if he likes. Afternoon work begins with the monks again praying for themselves and their brothers and sisters in the world.
(EVENING PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING)
At 5:45, the monastery bell calls us together in late afternoon to thank our Creator in the name of the Church for the gifts of another day. At 6:15-6:30 following the chanting of Vespers, we observe meditation and simple exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.
The monks take their evening meal cafeteria style, either before or after Vespers. In mid-week, our abbot, the spiritual father of our community, has an evening colloquium in the Chapter Room. He gives a spiritual conference to his monks there on Sunday mornings.
(ENTERING INTO GOD'S REST)
The monk's day closes at 7:45 with a final prayer for a peaceful night and a happy death. Salve Regina, the ancient hymn to Mary, Mother and Queen of Mercy, is chanted as a farewell note of praise for her Son, our Redeemer and Savior.
The structure of each Hour of the Divine Office is:
A Hymn (seasonal)
We recite the Psalter of 150 Psalms over a 2-week period.