Coming across the following post from nearly two years ago, I realized anew that I truly DO want to live each day in the "choir stall of my heart." Thinking of things in this way is a help to me. It forms a kind of "template" with which I can pattern my life of prayer.
So I've decided. I'd like to look at each of the following "times in the choir stall" individually, keeping track of how I live (or don't live) each one of them. I can share my findings here - thus providing some accountability (always a motivation!). Will anything happen as a result of this?
I promise to let you know.
It is morning in the monastery. Sister silently enters the chapel and
takes her place in a choir stall, a chair made exclusively to be a place
As the hours move on, Sister will come back and back to the choir
stall. Mid-morning, afternoon, evening, just before bedtime… here she
returns to chant praise, participate in Mass, pray with Scripture, meet
hour after hour with God. Sister begins and continues and ends her day
here. She answers the bell’s call to prayer when she feels great and
when she has a headache. She comes to the choir stall when she feels
close to God, when she's distracted, and when her spiritual life seems
barren and dry.
I have learned that, in the cloister of my heart, I, too, have a "choir
stall." Mine is a portable place of prayer, traveling with me to
supermarket, airplane, mall. I can "sit down" in this prayer-chair
regardless of surroundings, seeking God's touch upon my life and on the
lives of those around me.
There are no bells to call me to the choir stall. I must build
reminders into my own life. For me, discipline is quite difficult;
therefore, I find the following practices helpful. Actually, I find
them personally necessary if I hope to keep my life focused and on
Upon awakening in the morning, I can enter my choir stall
by beginning my day with a prayer. This is the framework upon which the
rest of the day will be woven.
At some point during the day, I try to set aside a block
of time to spend with God. I spend time in prayer with Scripture. It
may also be possible for me to go to Mass or Adoration. "Even if your
daily life in the service of mankind is overburdened with work, it has
to include time devoted to silence and to prayer…. Learn to pray! " (Pope John Paul II)
Throughout the morning, afternoon, and evening, I use
brief prayers to return me to my choir stall. I turn my heart to God
with inward phrases of prayer, no matter what I am doing or where I
happen to be. "Jesus, I trust in You…" "Holy Spirit, be my guide…."
As I begin various activities, I can enter the choir stall by offering my actions to God and imploring His aid. "O
you who fear the Lord, praise Him in the places where you are now.
Change of place does not affect any drawing nearer to God, but wherever
you may be, God will come to you." (Gregory of Nyssa).
As I retire, I close the day in my choir stall. "Protect
us, Lord, as we stay awake; watch over us as we sleep, that awake, we
may keep watch with Christ, and asleep, rest in His peace." (From Liturgy of the Hours, Night Prayer).
Lord Jesus Christ, I ask You to form in me - anew - a habit of prayer. Draw me
to meet with You day after day, no matter what my circumstances, in the
choir stall of my heart.