Sacred silence. A great settling enfolds the monastery. Cell doors close. Offices are dark. Computers are off. Phones are silent. Compline has rounded out the monastic day and nocturnal adoration begins. It’s extraordinarily intimate as one by one in each house a nun takes a private hour of adoration in the oratory. Close to the altar, kneeling before the monstrance, alone and still with our Lord. It is at once refreshing, restful, nourishing, healing, and strengthening. Like a cool walk in the garden breeze side by side with our Lord.
Yet, here’s the startling catch. All those adverbs aren’t for us. They are for those for whom we pray and sacrifice, especially priests. Yes, our lives to outsiders may seem enviously easy as lives of prayer that are soft, sweet, and gentle but prayer is merely bringing us to the battlefield for souls. Many a soul that ought to be with our Lord is not, so we step in – as we are – with all our aches, pains, distractions, trials, and traumas and tragedies anyone and everyone is faced with. And that, that holy hour with whatever physical, spiritual, emotional baggage life sends to us, is what we present to our Lord for the sake of others’ return to peace and perseverance.