The Christian and Monastic prayer:
Since man comes entirely from God, he must recognize and confess this power of his Creator, as the godly men did when they prayed at all times. The source of the Christian prayer is Christ Himself, the Lord of all the men and the only intermediary thanks to whom we can have access to God. In this way, He joins all the human community and it is set down an intimate union between the prayer of Christ and the one of the entire human genre. (n.6)
Following the evangelical piece of advice to pray restlessly, the monks have sanctified the day by means of the Liturgy of Hours. Seven times a day they join their voices to sing the praises of Lord, by means of a sing of hymns, psalms and chant taken from the Sacred Scriptures.
The structure of the celebration:
“Not only in the communal celebration but also in the lone recitation, the essential structure of the Liturgy endures which is a conversation between God and the man. However, the communal celebration reveals the ecclesiastical nature of the Liturgy of Hours, it facilitates the active participation of all in accordance with the condition of each individual, with the acclaims, the dialogue, the alternate psalmody and other similar means and it takes better account of different means of expression. For this reason, whenever a communal celebration can be taken with the attendance and active participation of the worshippers, it must be preferred instead of a lone celebration and private somewhat. Besides, it is recommended that the Service is chanted during the celebration in the choir and in public respecting the nature and functions of each part” (n.33)
The monastic day starts with the liturgical prayer of the Office of the Vigils. The service consists of the chant or recitation of the psalms in which the church, by means of a monk, lifts up its voice to God and the listens to His Word.
In the likeness of the Easter Liturgy, the Fathers of the Church exhort the faithful, especially those that dedicate themselves to the contemplative life. The night prayer which expresses the wait for God who has to come back and secondly intensifies it: “At midnight, a voice was heard: “the spouse arrives, come you out to welcome Him!” (Mt 25,6). “Watch therefore-for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning-lest he come suddenly and find you asleep” (Mc 13,35-36).
Saint Benedicte teaches us “who wishes to pray need have not only the circumstances of the place but also in an appropiate time”. The time totally free is the most convenient and suitable, especially when the night imposes a deep silence. Then the prayer is more freely and purer. “Stand up by night, at the changing of the guard, pour out thy heart like water before the face of the Lord” (cf. Lm 2,19). How secretly the prayer rises up by night before the only presence of the Lord and the Angel who gathers it to present it at the Altar of the Heaven! How pleasant and magnificent, blushed in the shyness of modesty! How serene and quiet, not disturbed by the resounding shout!” (Sermon about The Song of Songs, 86,3)
When this office ends up, the monks continue praying by means of the reading of the Word of God.
The frequent reading of the revealed Scripture is necessary to reach a deeper knowledge of Christ. The Word of God is not conformed with a simple spiritual reading or as an intellectual curiosity. In terms of an educator of the heart, the inspired word claims an entire exercise from man. The Word of God is lively and effective (cf.Hb 4, 12) and, par excellence, an educator of the heart. The Lord provides us with His Word so that we listen to Him when we read and speak to Him when we pray. It is not always easy to enter into that dynamics, a minimal learning and persistence is required in the exercise as a way of overcoming the emerging difficulties. The Fathers of the Church compare the Sacred Scriptures with the “shell”, hard and bitter sometimes, but conspiratorial of the sweetness of the grace that protects from the easy and quick manipulation by man.