Story, Value, and Becoming More Real
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December 1, 2021

Annie Nardone


I return to my beloved abbey,

Where monks know a silence that is filled

with healing and contemplation.

A quiet cacophony of glory.

Moving Hour by Hour by Hour

Through the Liturgy of Life,

Connected by a golden thread

that ties us

to the numinous.


I breathe in and out,

Mindful of the quiet.

And mindful of many voices

Vying to draw me out of this

gift of stillness.

And rest.


Alone in this Cistercian chapel,

the simple, wooden furnishings are enough,

enough to give rest to the weary,

to give pleasant order for worship,

and to invite Holiness to meet searching hearts.

Seven times a day do I praise you, Lord.

But I have forgotten how.


By the alter, a richly toned icon of Mother Mary and her son

catches my attention.

I hadn’t noticed that painting before.

The peaceful image becomes

a message.

I have been waiting for you.

I am here.

I am.


Settling in, I see

a sturdy, high-backed chair,

placed alter-side by the wall.

A clear, bright sunbeam

suddenly streams through the window

and rests above the chair.

I whisper to God that

I am here to meet Him

In this clear silence.

I will not leave until I see Him.

Humble request, firm resolve,

or demand?


Then that warm beam begins

to slowly slip down the chair back.

Bit by bit as I watch.

The sunlight filling only the chair,

and nowhere else in the room.


God, is that you?

I will not move from this place.

while I watch and pray.

Swiftly, the brightest beam at its center

fills the seat,

as if taking its rest

with me.


Beyond time,

Beyond explanation

Time was suspended

in the numinous.

When we cease striving,

mystery takes a seat

with the material,

when we watch and pray.

This meditation was inspired by one of my visits to Our Lady of the Holy Cross Abbey in Virginia. You can explore their wonderful website to learn more about their community of Cistercian monks, Liturgy of the Hours, and Retreat House. 

Featured image by Luke Besley on Unsplash.


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