“To listen willingly to holy readings,
to prostrate frequently in prayer.”
(Rule of Benedict 4.55-56)
Sixth century monks had holy readings all day, in chapel and refectory. They sang the psalms with pauses, often kneeling or prostrating in prayer. So StBenedict’s focus in this instruction must be on “willingly” and “frequently.”
Holy readings and liturgical prayer can fade into life’s background, done regularly but with little awareness. Work, visitors, plans, events - changeable things – easily grab our attention. “Tend to your knitting,” StBenedict says, “Listen with your heart! Participate!”
Benedictine living can transform hearts and brings us closer to God, but attendance is not enough. Monastic life is not a spectator sport.