Listen is the first, and arguably the most important, word of the Rule of St Benedict. It is an invitation to seek God by fine-tuning our minds, our hearts, our senses to be aware of God’s presence, to listen to God’s whisper in every moment and in every situation.

waterfallThis deep listening is fostered by silence. Silence for continuous prayer is integral to the living of Benedictine monastic life. It enables us to hear and be transformed by the Word of God. We give each other the gift of silence when we allow it to “permeate the whole of our way of life, our working, our movements, our thought and our prayer.” (Constitutions: 12)

The spirit of silence observed in our abbey is not a rigid one, but rather a gentle, prayerful and loving silence. We keep silence out of love for one another and reverence for each one’s deep communion with God in thought and prayer.

The evening meal is our normal time for sharing and talking. During the day there are, of course, times when we need to speak about work or other issues however, we try to do this quietly to keep the atmosphere of prayer throughout the monastery.

The time from Compline until after Lauds the following day is a deeper and more profound time of silence and listening and is often called “The Great Silence”.

Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart. RB Prol.1