Rule of St Benedict: reflections

On the Oratory of the Monastery

Dec. 3 

Let the oratory be what it is called, a place of prayer; and let nothing else be done there or kept there.  When the Work of God is ended, let all go out in perfect silence, and let reverence for God be observed, so that any brother who may wish to pray privately will not be hindered by another’s misconduct.  And at other times also, if anyone should want to pray by himself, let him go in simply and pray, not in a loud voice but with tears and fervour of heart.  He who does not say his prayers in this way, therefore, shall not be permitted to remain in the oratory when the Work of God is ended, lest another be hindered, as we have said. 


The oratory, the church, is a house of prayer and of silence.  This affirmation also applies to our interior oratory because these two oratories, exterior and interior, must hollow us out to the depths of our being in order to procure fullness of unity within the heart.  It is a long and arduous path for each of us as it is for the monks.  Nevertheless, by following it we will come to love every single one of our brothers, having learned to share their sufferings with our own broken hearts.