24 January 2012

Compline


Abp. Fulton Sheen on a retreat he gave at the Trappist monastery in Gethsemani, Kentucky:
A particularly striking scene at the abbey was Compline, or the night prayers of the monks. Each of them had a small lamp above his choir seat which he would use if he needed to recall the words for reading. But as they came to that part of the prayer which they knew, one by one the lights would go out. The long narrow chapel was then in total darkness, except for the great large window at the far extreme above the main altar, where there was a stained-glass window of the Blessed Mother surrounded by angels and saints. As the evening prayer progressed until finally they came to the hymn of Our Lady, Salve Regina, the illumination of the window gradually increased, until at the close of the song and the night prayer it was a veritable blaze of glory. Here were over two hundred strong men as full of passion as and perhaps more full than their fellow men in the world, who all were in love with the same Woman--without jealousy--and in whom they all trusted to make them more like her Son.
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