I’ve done many spiritual retreats before, but never one so structured and “other” than what I was used to. The Benedictines practice the daily office – a rhythm of 7 worship gatherings a day (starting at 4:50am! Youzers) and they sing Gregorian chant style.
A few observations:
– Monastic life has no parallel in the protestant tradition. It is distinctly Catholic and was a reminder of just how wide and diverse God’s Kingdom is.
– 4:50am. Are you kidding me? It felt crazy, until I came into a beautiful candlelit chapel, chanted 3 psalms in a row and sang inviting God’s guidance, protection and presence this day. It was the right start to avoid the usual mental “to do” list.
– Benedictine spirituality incorporates repetition and physicality that protestants lack. 3 or 4 times per service, 7 times per day, we bowed and sang, “Glory be to the Father, to his Son Jesus and to the Spirit who resides in our hearts. Amen.” We sang this at the end of every Psalm and every Hymn. We sang it in a bowing position to show our subservience to God. A powerful experience, proclaiming allegience well over a dozen times a day, while bowing down.