This past week, I, along with my Postulant Brothers, spent a full week at Mount Saviour, a Benedictine monastery in Pine City, NY. This monastery is situated amidst rolling hills in an isolated plot of farm land, just outside of Elmira, NY. This isolation, and lack of any cell phone service, allowed us to immerse ourselves in the silence and rhythm of Benedictine life.
While I initially harbored anxiety about a full week of silence and set periods of prayer (starting at 4:45 AM until 8:15 PM), I quickly realized that what I had was an opportunity to surrender and submit to a new kind of spiritual life. The silence and rhythm of the Benedictine life, in which the day in punctuated with alternating periods of prayer, work, and rest, opened up an interior dialogue. I also discovered the richness of silent prayer, in which our communion with God is freed from the distractions of images and words, of petitions, and regrets, thus allowing us to experience a newfound level of closeness and intimacy with our Creator.
This sensitivity to Christ within us, which is revealed during the periods of silence and surrender, was augmented and reinforced during my walks around the monastery’s beautiful grounds. We realize that as our relationship with God develops through the Liturgy and silent prayer, so does our relationship with all of His Creation.
The below photos, taken during my week at Mount Saviour, hardly begin to capture the natural beauty of the monastery and its surrounding area.