There is little hope for me to get up in time for the first worship service of the day. If I were to be awake at 4:45 AM, something would have to be wrong. So I go gentle on myself for missing the first service this morning.
But there was no excuse for nearly missing the 7:00 AM Lauds service. The chapel bell pulled me from my slumber. I had set the cell phone alarm to go off at 6:35, but apparently the phone spent the whole night searching vainly for a cell tower and the phone fell into a deeper sleep than mine. When the dong-dong-dong sounded nearby, I sat up, confused and incredulous. Throwing some clothes on, I arrived in time for the chanting of Psalms.
Breakfast followed – Cheerios with a sliced banana. The coffee is not particularly good, but the brothers don’t go in for a lot of comparison shopping. The rest of the morning is spent in reading, reflecting, and a bit of resting. In the middle of it all, mass comes at 9:00 and I watch everybody else have communion.
Noontime prayer calls an end to my study, and following a brief worship service with three psalms, we dine with the brothers. I would be perfectly content to settle for the large garden salad, but then the cook brings platters of meatloaf and roasted vegetables. It is followed by homemade custard pie. All through lunch, we are silent as the guest master reads a spiritual history of the Cluny monastery to us. When the abbot sees 1:00 on his wristwatch, he dings the bell and we depart.
A brief siesta will precede an afternoon of reading. There will be prayer services at 3:00 and 6:00, and sometime before the latter, I will take a walk among the fields.
Then it’s more prayer, more reflection, and another blessed night of sleep. Anybody want a few prayers while I am here?