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The Hours – Prayers Written for “Sacred Time” – An Abbey of the Arts Online Retreat

April 16, 2021

These prayers begin with Thomas Merton’s words from his prose poem “Hagia Sophia” and his poem “Evening Prayer” from The Collected Poems of Thomas Merton. Following his words are my own… the picture of the Azalea bush comes from our front garden.

Dawn – The Hour of Lauds

I am awakened, I am born again at the voice of this,
my Sister, sent to me from the depths of the divine
fecundity. — Thomas Merton (from Hagia Sophia)

The light gently peeks through the shutters
I roll over for just a wee bit more sleep
She is patient with me
A non-morning person
As I awaken I say to my beloved
This is the day the Lord has made
My beloved responds
Let us rejoice and be glad in it
The day begins
It is filled with possibilities
The coffee or tea brews
The morning ritual has begun

Day – High Morning – The Hour of Tierce

The Sun burns in the sky like the Face of God, but
we do not know his countenance as terrible. His light
is diffused in the air and the light of God is diffused
by Hagia Sophia. — Thomas Merton (from Hagia Sophia)

Work begins
Emails to reply to
Bulletins to be prepared
The sun is making its way across the sky
Sunlight spills in through the office windows
Too often I get caught up in the tasks of the day
A squirrel scampers and jumps from limb to limb
A robin chirps and sits on a branch
Spirit, Spirit of Wisdom, Hagia Sophia
You call me gently to simply be still

Dusk – Sunset – The Hour of Compline – Salve Regina

The shadows fall. The stars appear. The birds begin to sleep.
Night embraces the silent half of the earth. A vagrant, a destitute
wanderer with dusty feet, finds his way down a new road. A
homeless God, lost in the night, without papers, without
identifications, without even a number, a frail expendable exile
lies down in desolation under the sweet stars of the world and
entrusts Himself to sleep. — Thomas Merton (from Hagia Sophia)

We unwind on the couch
Denise, Pixie, Me
Relaxing after supper
Taking time to process the day
Writing, reflecting, contemplating
My prayer begins
The sun has set and the Vesper lights flicker and glow
Again She calls me to simply be still


Rising from my heart
Full of Care

I lift up my hands
In evening sacrifice
Lord, receive my prayer. — Thomas Merton (“Evening Prayer” from The Collected Poems of Thomas Merton)

Now, settling into bed for the night
We share one last prayer together
Thom Shuman’s Evening Prayer recording
Northumbria Community’s Compline
The lights are turned off
The day is done, gone the sun
Safely drifting off in the arms of Hagia Sophia, Lady Wisdom

  1. pynkoski2 permalink

    Things I need to hear today..

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