A day in the community
How monastic life is lived at Bose may be seen by looking at a day in the life of the community.
To response as concretely the centrality of the Word of God, each brother and sister is invited to arise at 4:30 am and to dedicate at least an hour to personal lectio divina (prayerful reading of Scripture) on a passage of the Bible chosen by the community: this agreement on the passage chosen expresses the conviction that listening to the Word is the only authentic source of communion.
At 6:00 begins the first of the three daily community prayers. This morning prayer, based on the Latin tradition, is structured as follows: an opening hymn, the singing of Psalms (the entire Psalter is sung in the course of two weeks), a moment of intercession and prayer, an Old Testament reading (the Old Testament is read in its entirety over the course of three years), and a Gospel reading (the four Gospels are read over the course of a year).
The morning prayer is followed by a brief daily meeting (the chapter) from 6:45 to 7:00, which opens with the reading of an excerpt from a monastic rule or a passage from the Rule of Bose. During the chapter, suggestions for the improvement of community life are made, and information is exchanged regarding events of the day and guests of the community.
From 7:00 to 8:00, an additional hour of silence allows each member of the community to continue his or her personal prayer or spiritual reading.
At 8:00 am a bell is rung three times, marking the end of the “great silence,” which begins with the ringing of three bells at 8:00 every evening, and the day work begins.
Each person continues his or her professional work until 12:00, and at 12:30 everyone meets in the church for the second prayer of the day, the midday prayer. During this prayer, the singing of Psalms is followed by the reading of a single verse of the Gospel passage of the day, an expression of the constant memoria Dei that should accompany every moment of the monks. This is followed by the reading of a short text by one of the fathers of the church, or by a contemporary spiritual writer.
The prayer is immediately followed by lunch, according to a monastic tradition found in both Eastern and Western Christianity. Lunch accompanied by conversation.
Work begins again at 2:00 pm and usually continues until 5:00 pm in the afternoon, when a bell rung three times marks the beginning of another hour dedicated to personal reading and prayer, or to personal tasks such as the washing one’s clothes.
At 6:30 pm the evening prayer begins, the last community prayer of the day, during which the singing of Psalms is followed by a reading from one of the New Testament letters (all of which are read over the course of a year).
Dinner in silence follows evening the prayer.
At 8:00 pm the great silence begins, a time for personal meditation in one’s room, the personal recitation of compline and rest.