In My Father's House

Poems, Prayers, Inspirations, Photos and Musings about life, love and what it means to be a child of the Father

Thursday, January 19, 2006

The Need to Pray

I miss my friends at the Cistercian Monastery in the island of Guimaras (in the province of Panay, Philippines). They are about 10 to 12 monks whose mission in life is to pray and work. They start their day at 3 am to pray together as a community. I had an opportunity to join them in some occasions. It was truly a marvelous experience. It seemed that everything stopped inside their chapel--no wind, no howling of dogs or noise in the street. Even Time seemed to be respecting the monks' time. You can almost hear monks' cassocks brushing against the cold pavement of the chapel.

These monks have the most peaceful faces I have ever seen. It is as if they are in perpetual trance in contemplating something Beautiful. Their manner of speech is gentle and unhurried. Even their actions are deliberately slow. And they are a happy group. Once every end of the month, I went there when I was still teaching in Iloilo and I would feel refreshed at the end of my stay.

Prayer is such a luxury these days. A lot of people I have encountered have expressed genuine desire to pray, not in the hurried and formulaic way but in quality-time kind of prayer. They just lack time, they invariably say. Someone said that if you find it difficult to find time to pray, then you are really not giving yourself time to pray. Another one said that it's a waste of time to pray. I know of someone who says that prayer actually saves time. By praying at the beginning of the day you can begin discussing with God things that concern you. Then you can identify which of these are really important, that is, will deepen your relationship with Him and with others.

I wish I can visit my friends again. =)


  • At 2:01 AM, Blogger Jonathan St.Andre, T.O.R. said…

    Thank you for sharing your experience of these prayerful men and the value of prayer. Sometimes, the thought of considering prayer a waste to time seems scandalous to me and yet I often live as if prayer is an "extra" in my schedule. I guess we need the grace of a new perspective on our time to see that prayer is really about whats most important.

  • At 7:47 AM, Blogger sonoftheprodigal said…

    thanks jonathan!

    I believe that praying put us in the right perspective. When we are in contact with God, we have little difficulty in choosing the better over the good, the best and most important over the passing and trivial.

  • At 4:13 AM, Blogger ~m2~ said…

    i wish i could visit your friends, too :)

  • At 5:30 PM, Blogger Noel Y. Bava said…

    why not? if one of these days you plan to visit the philippines, i'll be most glad to tour you around. Guimaras is such a wonderful place!

  • At 4:55 AM, Blogger Questing Parson said…

    You stir the memories within when in another time, during the last century, I was young and contemplating my calling. I, too, found my way to the quiet contemplative confines of a monestary. The peace, prayerful, fulfilled, joyous lives of the monk quickened the Spirit within me. I yearned to be a part of their order more than the weekend visits.

    I'm satisfied I answered my particular calling, but they had responded to a call I sometimes have wished was mine.

    Bless you Jonathan.

  • At 11:24 PM, Blogger Jeff Pioquinto,SJ said…

    hey weng,

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  • At 3:00 AM, Blogger Br. Gregory Plow, T.O.R. said…

    Just one note: That monk in your photograph is Fr. Christian Carr, O.C.S.O. He is a wonderfully friendly, prayerful, smart and holy monk at Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner, South Carolina.
    God bless you.

  • At 8:55 AM, Blogger sonoftheprodigal said…

    bro. gregory: thanks for the info.


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