I am delighted to share another beautiful submission to the Monk in the World guest post series from the community. Read on for Susan Johnson’s reflection and poem “Liturgy of the Hours.”
During one of Christine’s online retreats, we were invited to create our own Liturgy of the Hours. I believe that retreat was in 2020, and since that time, the following prayers have become a centerpiece of my every day. Upon awakening, I pray Lauds, and every three hours my phone alarm reminds me to continue the prayers, leading me finally to Compline. Then Matins soothes me in the deep night. These prayers are “in my bones” now, as I pause with them, sometimes silently, sometimes aloud, whether I am writing at my desk, working in the garden, hiking a trail with a friend, or even sitting in conversation with another. Throughout the hours, the prayers resonate palpably in my mind/heart center, reassuring me of the everpresence of the divine. For this I offer thanks.
Liturgy of the Hours Lauds Dreams stir our deep sleep Owl seeks her way in silence Spirit sighs within ~ Prime First light gilds the pines Lifts us to begin again Sing praises of day ~ Terce Bells chime, morning prayer Heron sighs at river’s edge Yes to breath of God ~ Sext Listen—Spirit sings All earth joins in holy hymn Day’s sacred refrain ~ None Raven calls above New breeze quivers aspen leaves We gather as one ~ Vespers Pearl moon lights the pines Three chimes summon evening prayer Silence stills our minds ~ Compline May night bind our prayers May gratitude bless our day May angels guard sleep ~ Matins May soft womb of night Soothe our souls’ uncertainties Still our stormy hearts
Susan Johnson writes in Roslyn, Washington, and is a Benedictine oblate at St. Placid Priory. She is grateful to be active in a vibrant poetry community and to have had her work published in regional and national journals. Her chapbook, The Call Home, was published this spring by The Poetry Box.