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Monk in the World Guest Post: Susan Johnson

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

Dreams stir our deep sleep
Owl seeks her way in silence
Spirit sighs within

First light gilds the pines
Lifts us to begin again
Sing praises of day

Bells chime, morning prayer
Heron sighs at river’s edge 
Yes to breath of God

Listen—Spirit sings
All earth joins in holy hymn
Day’s sacred refrain

Raven calls above
New breeze quivers aspen leaves
We gather as one

Pearl moon lights the pines
Three chimes summon evening prayer
Silence stills our minds

May night bind our prayers
May gratitude bless our day
May angels guard sleep
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.

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