by Sister Jan Kilian
We have an additional pre-morning-prayer ritual since Sister Paula moved in with Carol and me at Clare’s Well. Our Staff always did have a spiritual practice of private prayer time before gathering for shared morning prayer. Paula has added a physical practice of daily morning stretches for our bodies in the living room before we move into chapel to stretch our spirits in shared prayer. This physical workout helps me to see even better what good there is in daily morning prayer: Fidelity to practice is key to growth.
Practice. What is its value? We practice music so we can sing or play with ease. In Lent we have spiritual practices, such as fasting, to grow in freedom from needing to satisfy wants and to open ourselves to God. What happens when we maintain a practice of praying together every day? Would it make a difference if we didn’t do it? Unequivocally, yes!
Just the thought of dropping communal morning prayer from our schedule makes my stomach queasy. I feel off balance and out of touch with something very essential in relating to the world. As the morning light replaces darkness, we sisters (and sometimes guests) join together with scripture, inspirational reading, psalms, song, shared silence, and reflections to open the gift of this new day. Our morning hour is rich with insights from saints of every stripe as we share the story of old or contemporary saints of the day. We experience the wide range of Grace as we share our deepest prayers.
I see practice as hungrily repeating routine, sometimes with difficulty, waiting for Light to break through. And when a breakthrough comes, I see us enjoying the paradox of a daily practice so fed with abundant Light that it hardly seems routine at all.
Morning prayer: to see my God-experience in another is to see God Incarnate. I can sit in my room and pray, “Your love is everlasting.” To hear others pray those same words from their hearts, opens doors: “Oh, you know that, too?!” This is the bonding that shared prayer produces. Pulsating from soul to soul, Light is refracted; the Word is amplified; Stillness is very dynamic. We say “Amen”, ready to minister from the Gift of this practice.
Written by Sister Jan Kilian, this blog will give an understanding of what it’s like to be Franciscan. Living out the spirit of Saint Francis, we see all God’s creation as brother and sister. We, Franciscan Sisters of Little Falls, are committed to building relationships and community, ministering wherever there is greatest need, promoting justice and healing Mother Earth’s wounds. My writings will give a glimpse of the compassion, spirituality, interconnectedness and goodness of living Franciscan.