Monastic life is rich in moments of fraternity, and this is never more true than when the community gathers together in the Abbey Church to celebrate the Eucharist, the source and the summit of our life, and to sanctify the day by praying the Liturgy of the Hours. These moments, however, invite us as monks to something more, to time spent with God in personal prayer that is an intimate dialogue with the Father whom we meet through Jesus his Son in the Holy Spirit. Although the relationship that exists between each monk and God is individual, there are many common threads that make this prayer time one which can be the subject of guidance, of accompaniment and of mutual sharing.
There is a great tradition of wisdom that exists to help us in this enterprise, as we advance ever deeper into the knowledge and love of God. Often the notion of contemplative prayer can sound remote and intimidating, as something only for experts. While it is true that the deepest experiences of contact with the Lord are unlikely to come immediately, the nourishment given by our prayer together, our reading of the Bible and the rest of our community life, together with the guidance of wise older monks, provide us with a set of helps and stimuli to prayer, a context in which the time to spend with God is available, and a strengthening of our commitment to grow closer to him.