Quiet Day: Introduction - Mucknell Abbey
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Quiet Day: Introduction

First of all we are very thankful that you might be joining us, albeit remotely, for our Passiontide Quiet Day this year. The coronavirus pandemic may have forced us into physical self-isolation, but we remain what we have always been: members of the Body of Christ, joined together in the spirit not only with each other but with Christians throughout the ages.


Whether or not you are able to participate in full, we hope that this Quiet Day will be a means of bringing to you and those around you some measure of peace, joy and devotion as the Church enters its celebration of the passion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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 is the key to our Quiet Day: to focus on whatever we are doing, and to do it with as much care and love as we can muster, ‘listening’ in the broadest sense – being alert, curious and aware of what we often take for granted; that we are constantly in the presence of the God who is love

Br Stuart

How will it work?


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.

The timetable

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.

Prayer and reflection

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.