Life in Progress: A weblog by Heidi Price
5/16/2006

Sunday morning

"Didn't you attend any religious services while you were there?" my friend Paul asked me last night on the phone.

I didn't, I admitted, although I had plenty of opportunity.

The day of a Gethsemani monk is marked by seven prayer services, the first, vigils, beginning at 3:15 a.m. It is followed by Lauds at 5:45 a.m., Mass at 6:15 a.m. and ends with a 7:45 p.m. Chaplain's talk after supper.

Sometime after breakfast on Sunday, I was walking down the back steps of the guest house on my way to go hiking and I heard organ music coming from the abbey church. Hoping to go unnoticed, I entered from a side door which opens onto the balcony.

There was no service, just a monk practicing. I sat to listen. I can't remember for how long.

The abbey chapel is simple. White walls, a pebble stone, concrete floor. The stained glass windows are gray, geometric shapes. I had my digital camera but it would have been profane to take a picture.

My friend Paul, who is a Sunday School teacher and my go to guy on all things Catholic, told me that the abbey chapel was renovated in the wake of the second vatican council which brough about changes intended to make the focus of the church on the people.

"They toook the chapel and made it more austere to get back to this idea humility and simplicity in life," he said.

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