In a new short paper we have produced for people on retreat in the Guest House which we call “What’s Going On Up There?” we give our guests a look inside the monastery and especially the Divine Office. The paper summarizes the monastic day, talks about how a monk spends his time and gives insight into things like how do they know when to start the Office and why is there a Bishop’s crozier in front of the Abbot’s choir stall?
We also talk about why there are no choir books in the guest pews. We get that question a lot and in the paper we try to explain that we believe it important the Office be prayer rather than a function of trying to figure out which page we’re on in the monastic choir books. In other words, we suggest the first word of St. Benedict’s Rule, which is listen is a good guide for how a guest can enjoy the Office and enter the prayer rather than make the prayer work.
If you would like a copy of What’s Going on Up There? send email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll email it back to you. Lots of information and some fun things you probably didn’t know or have wondered about are also included.