At Saint Meinrad, we operate on Central Time, which is quite
confusing because we are situated right on the time-zone border
with Eastern Time. Guests frequently tell us that our clocks are an
hour behind, or they are showing up to prayer an hour early.
There is a constant need to specify "their time" (Eastern) vs.
"our time" (Central). What's even more confusing, there are two
cell phone towers nearby, one on the Eastern side and one on Central, so, depending where you are on
the Hill, your cell phone will show a different time altogether.
When you throw in a time-change weekend, as in the end of Daylight
Saving Time, all hell seems to break loose!
"Our time" in the monastery should operate much slower than
"their time" in the world. I have heard guests remark that "time
seems to stand still" while visiting the monastery. I certainly
think that is the goal.
As a monastery, we should operate somewhere "in-between" time,
that is, when we are immersed in our public liturgy in the church,
that celebration is happening somewhere in between time, in between
heaven and earth. Pope Benedict XVI speaks of this idea in his book
The Spirit of the Liturgy, published before his
While our lives as monks are indeed busy, our goal is to use our
time wisely, to have a full schedule but never let ourselves get
overwhelmed. We must learn to strike a healthy balance between
prayer and work, a balance that all of us as Christians are indeed
Learning to use every minute we have been given. Learning to use
this gift to love and praise God in our prayer and work is our true
goal. As Michael Casey has remarked, we must become comfortable
with "wasting time with God."
Are you a good steward of your time? Are you giving yourself
enough time to pray and rest? You could have all the time in the
world, if you would only give it to yourself. Fr. Hilary
Ottensmeyer, a monk of our house, put it this way: "Unless you are
convinced that prayer is the best use of your time, you will never
find time to pray."