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What is it like to pray with the monks?

I recently completed a video of Vespers, our evening Office of Thanksgiving. As a major hour of the Divine Office, the monks line up in order of seniority in the monastery glass hallway. The Abbot, Prior, and Subprior are at the head of the line, followed by those who professed vows earliest, with the newest members of the community taking the final place at the end of the line. This time in statio and in silence is intended to allow the monk to recollect before chanting the Psalms. The Psalms at Vespers communicate thanksgiving to God.

Benedictine prayer comprises both Mass and the Divine Office, or Liturgy of the Hours—the daily round of praise and thanks we offer to God for his countless gifts to us, especially our salvation in Jesus Christ. We strive to make our prayer both beautiful and accessible, modifying ancient forms of Gregorian chant for effective expression in English. Our prayer is augmented by holy reading and a spirit of contemplative silence. We offer witness to a frantic and fast-paced society: the peace we all hunger for is ours in Christ our Savior.

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