Monday, August 13, 2007

Sisters Retreating, More on the Liturgy of the Hours, and a Traveler's Blessing

Today three of our sisters drove to the Trappist Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts for five days of retreat. The horarium (daily schedule) of the Abbey includes these 'hours' of the Divine Office:

3:30am Vigils

6:30am Lauds, morning prayer, followed by Eucharist

10:00am Tierce

12:15am Sext, midday prayer

2:00pm None

5:40pm Vespers, evening prayer

7:40pm Compline, night prayer

Years ago I visited the Abbey and was so moved by the blessing at the end of Compline. The monks approached the Abbot two by two and received his blessing in dismissal as they entered into the Great Silence of the Night which ends at 8:00am in the morning. After all the monks were gone, the Abbot came to the visitors' section and solemnly blessed each of us. Here, in our monastery, we also receive this customary blessing from the prioress at the end of night prayer: May the Lord bless us, protect from all evil and lead us to everlasting life. Amen.

Protect us Lord, as we stay awake, watch over us as we sleep

that awake we make keep watch with Christ

and asleep rest in His peace.

Antiphon for the canticle said every night during Compline, the Nunc Dimitis (Simeon's Prayer)


Here is the Blessing for Travelers we used today. You may want to adapt it for use in your family or parish.

Leader: May the Lord turn His face toward us and guide our feet into the way of peace, now and for ever.

Response: Blessed by God for ever.

Leader: Let us entrust our Sisters to the hand of the Lord. Let us pray that He will give them a prosperous journey and that as they travel, they will praise Him in all His creatures; that they will experience God's own goodness in the hospitality they receive and bring the Good News of salvation to all they meet; that they will be courteous toward all; that they will greet the poor and afflicted with kindness and know how to comfort and hep them.

All: All powerful and merciful God; you led the children of Israel on dry land, parting the waters of the sea; you guided the Magi to your Son by a star. Help our Sisters and give them a safe journey. Under your protection let them reach their destination and come at last to the eternal haven of salvation. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Blessing by the Prioress with holy water: In the paths of peace may the Lord guide you, and may He send His holy angel Raphael to accompany you on your way: that safe and sound, in peace and joy, you may return to those who love you. We ask this through Christ, our Lord.

Response: Amen.

No comments: