The defining feature of a monk's life is prayer. A monk is a man
of prayer and this should be evident by the amount of time and
attention he gives to this most important activity. Prayer is the
axis around which the entire life of the monastery revolves.
The monastic community at Saint Meinrad Archabbey gathers five
times a day in the Archabbey Church to celebrate Mass and to pray
the Liturgy of the Hours: Vigils, Lauds, Midday Prayer, Vespers and
Compline. The style of the liturgy is formal, reverent and
Throughout the centuries, Benedictine monks have guarded a long
history of excellence in liturgy and we build on that heritage by
attending to the quality of our music (primarily chant), liturgical
action and liturgical environment, so that prayer, beauty and
solemnity come together in true moments of worship and praise.
the newcomer, the amount of time spent in Church can seem
overwhelming. With time and perseverance, the frequency of prayer
throughout the day becomes second nature and assumes a rhythmic
quality that punctuates and sustains one's life in the monastery,
like breathing. Novices also often say that so much of the chant -
the hymns, antiphons, responsories and psalm tones - all "sound the
same" at first.
Again, time, study and repetition tune the ear to the subtle and
sometimes-pronounced shifts in music and text that accompany the
changing seasons. As years progress, the monk grows to appreciate
the ever-unfolding richness of the liturgical year with its
perennial themes of hope, light, repentance, salvation, mercy and
liturgical (or public) prayer are added two periods each day for
lectio divina, or private prayer with Scripture and other
spiritual texts. In his lectio, the monk aspires to
encounter Christ in the Word of God and to cultivate a deep,
personal relationship with Him. Love is the result and the monk
finds the object for his charity - love in action - in the
confreres, students, guests, retreatants, poor and needy for whom
he lays down his life in service.