It comes as a surprise to some people that monks and nuns have Quiet Days and Retreats. But we do! And every year we set aside the Friday before Palm Sunday as a Quiet Day in preparation for Holy Week and Easter. In many respects the day resembles all the others in the year, except that we try to keep total silence. This is not just for its own sake, but in order that we might listen to what the Lord wants to say to us. As St Benedict famously says at the beginning of his Rule, ‘Listen carefully…listen carefully with the ear of your heart…’.
This can be a daunting prospect for some and, depending on your circumstances, very ambitious. As the name suggests, silence is an integral part of the discipline. But don’t worry if you can only commit to a morning or a couple of hours. It is better to be realistic.
Silence means not just refraining from talking, it also means fasting from distractions such as phones or internet. These are just as “noisy”, if not more so, than the occasional conversation. However you will still need to use the internet it if you’re following us online! Only be careful not to segue into Twitter, emails or the news.
Our Quiet Day is structured around the normal monastic timetable, which includes time for prayer, work – including creative tasks – reading and meals. When faced with a large expanse of “empty” time, having a structure to your day is very important. In so far as you are able to, we invite you to follow the same timetable.
The six monastic Offices for each day have also been made available for you to use. As the psalms and some of the readings are not given in full, you will need a Bible (with a psalter) to hand. At Mucknell we use the NRSV for readings and a contemporary American version of the psalter, but you can use whatever you prefer/have at hand.
We have also included the readings for the Eucharist, which may provide material for meditation. Unfortunately our internet connection is not up to streaming our services live. However we have made recordings the Office hymns, and these are available on the Quiet Day post as well as being embedded into the Offices themselves.
Br Ian and Sr Alison have also written reflections on passages from today’s Rule and Gospel.