The spirit of contemplative prayer now becomes action, and manual work, fills the remainder of the day beneath the watchful gaze of God, imitating the Filius fabri,the son of the artisan (St. Matthew XIII, 55.)Labor, the second half of Benedictine life, is a constant recourse to St. Joseph, called upon daily to guide the hands of the laboring monks. As prescribed by the Rule, the monastery operates a farm, several workshops and agift shop apostolate. The arts and crafts of manual labor are thus expressed in husbandry, with the products of various farm animals such as dairy and the spinning of wool, bakery, leather and iron work, woodworking, letterpress printing and other noble works that utilize materials made by God unto his greater glory, where the Divine Order overflows into every aspect of living so as to achieve an integrity of life. As the living descendants of the Desert Fathers, the monks work in joyful obedience and silence, communicating by sign language, to weave or to unweave their baskets (Sayings of the Desert Fathers,) as it shall please God! We are happy, O Israel, because the things that are pleasing to God have been made known to us (Baruch IV,4.)

 

Thus formed according to the mind of his Father, in hominem perfectum, a complete man (Colossians I, 28,) the Benedictine has responded to the call of God in his vocation, to live out his days in the service of things divine, corda et corpora, with heart and body working together in harmony,  for He hath established in me the order of Charity (Canticles II, 4.)

 

The Monastic Day comes to its end in the evening with Community Rosary, the prayer hours of Vespers and Compline at sunset. The monk retires at 8pm.

Text origanally appeared in The Angelus magazine, April 2008

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