The Religious Life is a life of prayer. The liturgy of the hours is an essential practice that gives life to our consecration. Here one Mercedarian Friar reflects on prayer and the nourishment that it gives to his religious life.
1) What attracted you to Religious Life?
Looking back I would have to say that what attracted me to Religious Life was three things: 1) To be more closely united to Jesus through the Vows of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience, 2) To live a stable and structured life revolving around prayer and service, and 3) To live common life with other brothers united in the Lord. It is still these three things that keep me enthusiastic about Religious Life.
2) Describe a typical day as a religious?
A typical day always begins with the praises of the Lord in Morning Prayer and Holy Mass. After Morning Prayer there is the various responsibilities and service of the Community and the Apostolate that need to be attended to. The community comes together at various times of the day for meals, recreation, Meditation, Rosary, and the other Hours of the Divine Office.
3) Why is prayer important to you? Was prayer always an important part of your life?
Prayer is an important part of my life because prayer is the way that God relates to me and I relate to God. Prayer keeps me in union with God and gives me the strength and light to do His will. Prayer was always an important part of my life in grade school and High School. Even though it was important to me in college I did not devote as much time to it as I should have. Because of this I was slow to hear the “Call” of God.
4) What role does the Liturgy of the Hours play in your prayer Life? Why is it so important to you?
I love the Liturgy of the Hours. It is not only a responsibility given to us by the Church to sing the praises of God throughout the day and to pray for the needs of the Church but it is a joy and an honor! The Liturgy of the Hours keeps me united to God throughout the day.
5) How does the Liturgy of the Hours nourish or sustain you?
At times in our spiritual lives we simply don’t have the words to express to God what we want about what is going on in our lives. The Liturgy of the Hours always seem to be able to express at any given time what I want to share with God.
6) What challenges do you face in praying the Liturgy of the Hours? How do you meet those challenges?
The biggest challenge would be to be faithful to those Hours that are not prayed in Community. I need to make sure that a busy schedule does not keep me from those Hours. To do that you always need to pencil in space for God in a busy schedule.
7) In what other ways do you pray?
My favorite forms of prayer are silent Adoration before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, reading Sacred Scripture, reciting the Rosary on my own, and walking in the beauty of nature.
8)Is there anything else about religious life or prayer that you would like to share with us?
Religious Life is a wonderful life, very fulfilling. Prayer is the very soul of that life.