by Fr. Kevin Walsh, Vocations Director, Mepkin Abbey
Each day we come to together seven times to pray. At each of the hours except Vigils we begin with the words: “O God come to my assistance, Lord make haste to help me.” These words come from one of the psalms and we can pray them anywhere, at any time. They express our need for and dependence on God. They also express our confidence that God is attentive and concerned. As we mature in faith we understand that God is not waving a magic wand over everything to make all our problems disappear. The mystery of the Incarnation brings us to understand that God enters our imperfection to help us navigate the way forward in the grace that God is offering us to deal with the challenges. To pray these words is to say I know that you never give up on me God and renews each of us in saying I will never give up on God. The contemplative way is to immerse oneself in the unwavering love of God, always turning to God, in every circumstance. offering praise, offering thanks, offering petitions in behalf of our own or others’ needs, profoundly aware that we are always in the presence of God and God is always offering us his love. Constitution 20 of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance is on Mindfulness of God. It reads: “By constantly cultivating mindfulness of God, the brothers extend the Work of God throughout the whole day. The abbot is to see to it that each one has ample leisure to give himself to lectio and prayer. Furthermore, all should take care that the monastic environment is favorable to silence and quiet.” God is calling some of us to active apostolates and some of us to a path of monastic rhythms of prayer.