Today was the second full day of lectures. A full day – four hours of lectures with the rest of the day taken up with reading and prayer.
Life at the university centers on prayer. We begin the day in the chapel with Morning Prayer of the Church. Later in the afternoon we celebrate Mass and early evening we pray the Evening Prayer of the Church. There is a very real sense in which the real work of the classroom learning takes place in the chapel.
This is also the situation in parish life. A lot happens in the life of a parishioner and of a priest. It is easy for the demands of the day to fill every moment. I can slip into automatic pilot when the alarm goes off in the morning and late that night I crash into bed exhausted. Prayer makes us stop. Prayer is the ultimate relaxation. The common aids to relaxation (tv or time with friends) can be helpful, but even better is to be still. In the stillness we become aware of how we REALLY are. The heart of our faith reminds us that God comes to meet us in this reality, whatever this reality is.
It is now just before 11pm I have just come from the chapel – a brief visit after what is known here as “Holy Hour” – the inverted commas are important – we finish each day together with drink and conversation. The company is good. THere is an abundance of story telling and laughter.
The days here begin early: this morning I was at the desk at 5.30. But the reading is good and the classes are especially nourishing. To have this time to focus on the Church tradition of celebration of the sacraments is a real gift.
Now, I’m off to bed.