A common misconception is that monks do nothing but pray all day in silence. While prayer is obviously a large and meaningful part of our life, we find its complement in the work we do - work that helps to support us, give meaning to our lives and build up the Kingdom of God here on earth.
Every day, the monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey go about the ordinary tasks of teaching, cleaning, caring for our sick, welcoming guests, offering retreats, and running a seminary and school of theology. This balance of prayer and work - ora et labora - is reflected in how we spend our days:
5:30 am Prayer: Vigils & Lauds
6:30 am Breakfast
7:00 am Lectio Divina (Holy Reading)
7:30 am Mass
8:30 am Work
12:00 noon Prayer: Midday Prayer & Lunch
1:00 pm Work
5:00 pm Prayer: Vespers
5:30 pm Lectio Divina (Holy Reading)
6:00 pm Supper
6:30 pm Community Recreation
7:00 pm Prayer: Compline
7:30 pm Recreation, Study & Leisure
Finding ways to carefully and meaningfully meet the daily needs of body, mind and soul are also given careful consideration. Common meals (some taken in silence, some with conversation), periods for sacred reading and time for recreation are also important part of our daily schedule or horarium.
In many ways, monks are ordinary men, who do ordinary things and lead ordinary lives; yet the intensity with which we seek God in the ordinary is what makes our monastic life truly extraordinary.
This idea of "consecrating the ordinary" is championed by St. Benedict. He writes in his Rule: "He will regard all utensils and goods of the monastery as sacred vessels of the altar, aware that nothing is to be neglected." (RB, Ch. 31, Vs. 10)