Prayer and Liturgy

“Let us stand to sing the psalms in such a way that our minds are in harmony with our voices.”

The Rule of Saint Benedict, chapter 19

For monks, as for all Catholics, the Mass is the source and summit of the Christian life. And so the monastic community comes together daily to celebrate the Eucharist and receive the body and blood of the Lord.

The monastic community at Saint Meinrad Archabbey gathers four other times during the day to pray together the Liturgy of the Hours. This ancient form of prayer seeks to help us to pray always, as Saint Paul advised, by praying frequently throughout the day. The Liturgy of the Hours consists primarily of psalms which are chanted or recited as well as other readings from scripture.

In praying the Liturgy of the Hours the monks are not only praying for themselves, they are praying for the world. This is a real ministry of prayer on behalf of everyone and it goes on daily in monasteries throughout the world. The different parts of the Liturgy of the Hours and their names and times at Saint Meinrad Archabbey are as follows:

            5:30 a.m         Offices of Vigils and Lauds

7:30 a.m.        Mass

            12:00 noon    Office of Midday Prayer

            5:00 p.m.        Office of Vespers

            7:00 p.m.        Office of Compline

Monks also devote an hour or more to a form of prayer called Lectio Divina which means Holy Reading. This involves slowly reading a selection from sacred scripture as a way of listening to God. It is a slow, relaxed process which involves, reading, reflecting, praying, and resting in God. Monks are also free to take up other forms of devotional prayer such as Eucharistic Adoration, the Rosary, and the Divine Mercy chaplet.