Letters From a Young Catholic

My reflections as a Catholic young adult passionate about the Faith, seeking to grow in knowledge and understanding of God and discerning the will of the Lord in my life.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Near Perfect Day

Today was a wonderful day. I started off this morning by driving a friend to an early morning doctor's appointment. As I dropped her off I realized I wasn't too far from a parish that has 7:30am Mass so I swung over to the parish for morning prayer and Mass while she was seeing the doctor and the timing was perfect. . . she came out from her appointment just as I got back from Mass. After taking her home I then went to meet up with some other friends to spend the day with them.

Two of my girlfriends and I had decided that we wanted a day off. We all felt that we needed a day to relax and step back from the hectic pace of life and spend some time in prayer. So where do you go for a day like that? To the Benedictine monastery, Westminster Abbey, of course!

So my friends picked me up and the three of us headed off to the abbey. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day (although it clouded over later on). We got there around 10:00am and spent some time in the chapel praying. Then one of my friends decided that we should go visit the Poor Clare Sisters who live a couple minutes away from the abbey and join in on their mid-day prayers.

And so, off we went to visit the Poor Clares. It was the first time that I've ever visited a cloistered convent. You hear about these mythical places but to actually go and visit is an another experience entirely. Grills and everything. When we joined in on mid-day prayers there was a grill that went across the chapel separating us from the sisters. They were very kind to us and even had taken the time to prepare breviaries with the page numbers for us (we had called ahead to say we were planning on coming). The sister who greeted us at the door spoke briefly with us, wrote down our names, and said that they would be praying for us. It's always encouraging to know that contemplatives are praying for you!

After mid-day prayers with the Poor Clares we headed back up to the Benedictine abbey and sat down in the wildflowers down by the pond eating our packed lunches. It was very picturesque. We sat there in the sunshine talking about life the universe and everything (well, not quite everything) for quite a while, then the three of us headed down a path to the marian shrine where we prayed the rosary together.

We then headed back up to the chapel and spent some more time in prayer and prayed the divine mercy chaplet together. After this we briefly said hi to Fr. Abbot and headed off to find a dear friend of mine, Fr. Basil. He's an 'older' monk who has a gift for story telling. He made us hot chocolate and we sat in the guest refectory listening to him tell us about how he broke his neck a couple years ago and the saga that followed! Yikes! It was a very dramatic story.

After enjoying the company of Fr. Basil we joined in on vespers, following which we went for a walk out to the lookout. The abbey is built on top of a hill and there is an amazing view overlooking a river valley. This lookout seems to be the number one place for young Catholic couples to get engaged these days.

We followed up our wonderful day up at the abbey by going out for dinner together (nothing fancy, good ol' Tim Horton's). After dinner my friends headed home while I picked up a coffee and headed to the Thomas Aquinas Philosophy discussion group that I'm involved with. Nothing like ending off the day with fresh coffee and a couple hours of reading and discussing Aquinas!

Yes, so that was my day. A near perfect day. The perfect balance of prayer, recreation, fellowship, and reading. Must be a Benedictine thing, although I guess I need to fit a little more "work" into the equation!