Good Zeal

Morning in the monastery

First, clock alarms, morning silence, the scent of coffee, radiant heat… Then, a descent down familiar stairs, quiet steps through a silent hallway, a half-turn of a sturdy brass doorknob, and I slip into the chapel to join the gathered community. The organ sounds a D minor chord and we respond with our first words of the day: “O Lord, open my lips and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.” And now morning has broken.

As we chant the ancient psalmody of Lauds, our resident goose and his duck companions flap happily in a large puddle left from yesterday’s rain. Sunlight streams through eastward windows. The waters of the lake are quiet and still. The sky lightens, then lightens some more.

After the final intonation of Lauds – “Thanks be to God” – we gather over scrambled eggs and cheese toast before dispersing to our various ministries. Sr. Lynn is off to her law office. Sr. Magdalena has a shift of phone duty, and then will engage in some vocation correspondence before playing the organ for Mass. Sr. Regina is managing the kitchen this week. A little later, I will be in the Retreat Center office. Everyone is off to play their part in helping build the Kingdom of God in our little corner of the world. As we heard in yesterday’s reading from I Corinthians, some are prophets, some are teachers, some have gifts of administration, or healing… Everyone has their work, their role – both here within our monastic community and within the Body of Christ.

No matter what our task, throughout the day we each remember those who are suffering, those for whom the day is not quiet and still. Always, always, we share their cries of lament, of thanksgiving, or praise as our prayers rise like the morning mist.

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