- Routine: The search for a balanced life is one that exists outside of this creation of an inner monastery, but one I find harder now that my world resides within a 700ft apartment. This blending of worlds leads to the challenges of not working 13-hour days when not needed or not giving into responding to messages while I am streaming Mass, etc. Joan Chittister writes that in Benedict's Rule, "All must be given its due, but only its due. There should be something of everything and not too much of anything." The wisdom of Saint Benedict sheds for us the light and truth that creating a balanced routine will be beneficial for mental health, productivity, and harmony. Creating this inner monastery must give due time to prayer, to work, to study, and to self.
- Contemplation: St. Teresa of Avila defines contemplation as “nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.” During times of anxiety, my way to cope becomes creating lists and finding control. Many times, this crosses over to my prayer life. My prayer life becomes a checklist to appease God and find comfort in Scripture. Yet, during times of trial and tribulation, God asks us to bare our full selves to him. To sit with Him, our friend, and share these fears, anxieties, tribulations, and to take the time to hear His response and be reminded of His love.
- Hope: The news reports that there is no hope to be found and that darkness is all around us. Yet, our faith reminds us that Christ is our light and to have hope in all things. Merton emphasizes this in saying, “You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.” Faith in hope that resides in the walls of the monastery and the souls of mystics is needed now in our inner monasteries wherever we are. Hope that Christ will rise, hope that He will save, hope that we are not a people left alone.
I invite you to share in the wisdom of the monastics and find the opportunity during these challenging times to create within our homes and families an inner monastery. Fears, sickness and hardship won’t be removed, but the insights of our brothers and sisters who have lived this life before us can help us to “recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”
If you find it helpful, here is my Inner Monastery Routine. Finding balance will look different for each person, so take what works for you and make adjustments to fit your needs.
- 8:40am Liturgy of the Hours Morning Prayer
- 9:00am Live Stream Mass
- 9:30am - 12:30pm Work
- 12:30-1:30pm Lunch & Afternoon Rosary Walk
- 1:30-4:30pm Work
- 4:30pm: Check in with family and friends
- 6:00pm: Dinner
- 7:00pm: Contemplation
- 7:30pm: Time for self (Reading, time with friends and family, creative time, Tv, etc)
- 9:30pm: Night Prayer
- 10:00pm: Reading and Bed