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.
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
I have been waiting for you.
I am here.
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,
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
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. https://www.virginiatrappists.org/
Annie Nardone is a bibliophile, author, and adventurer who seldom travels with a map because joy is discovered in the journey! Inspired byExodus 31:1-5, she believes that, like Bezalel, we are gifted by God with “ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship” to create as a reflection of our Creator God. Her sincere belief is in the reintegration of the arts with the Christian imagination, guiding people to train their eyes and minds to see holiness in everyday life.
She holds a MA in Cultural Apologetics from Houston Christian University, and is a Fellow with the C.S. Lewis Institute. Annie writes for Cultivating, Literary Life, and Clarendon House Books, and is a managing editor and writer for An Unexpected Journal. Annie collaborated on three books in 2022, published by Square Halo Books and The Rabbit Room. She recently designed a curriculum detailing the intersection of theology, the arts, and history and is a Master Teacher for HSLDA. She resides in Florida with her Middle Earth/Narnia/Hogwarts-loving family, and an assemblage of sphynx cats and feline foundlings.
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