When I transitioned from my life as a layperson into life as a new postulant, getting used to the “interruptions” in my day was a challenging adjustment at times. The bells tolled, I dropped what I was doing and went to prayer. Afterwards, I returned to my previous work, studies, or ministry, or perhaps I shifted gears and began a new task, leaving the former one unfinished. Having worked in a professional career where time and deadlines were important, being interrupted and changing tasks was not new to me. What was new was the nature and source of the interruption – slow down, become silent and listen to God.
I once heard prayer defined as a willingness to be interrupted by God. As children we are taught that praying is talking to God – and so we talk, and talk, and talk. Prayer is often seen as an active effort on our part; listening to God is thought of as passive, frustrating and slow. With time and maturity, we learn that listening is anything but passive, and that it takes active effort on our parts to be silent and pay attention to God.
The process of learning to surrender our agenda, open our hearts in humble awareness, and listen to God’s response can also be prayer. It demonstrates a desire to draw close to mystery. When this learning becomes a personal vision and attitude of heart, every moment becomes prayer – a lovingly received interruption from God.
Praying the Liturgy of the Hours and attending daily Eucharist is the center of my Benedictine life and day. They inform and direct what I do and who I am. They remind me of why I work and minister in the first place. God “interrupts” my days with more than just prayer times, though. God “interrupts” my day to speak to me through other people. When I allow myself to be “interrupted by God,” every moment of my day becomes a moment of surrender, opened heart and awe-filled listening. Cultivating such an attitude of heart fulfills the command of our Lord and of the Rule of St. Benedict to “Pray always.”Back to top