A Monk’s Life

What is a day in the life of a monk like?

  • P&P-DOWNSIDE-1

    For some people it comes as a surprise to learn that there are still monks today, living and working in the twenty-first century. For there are still monasteries of monks and nuns in England, most of them belonging to the Roman Catholic Church, all of them witnessing to God by their life of prayer and by a rich variety of works.

    There are about thirty monks living at Downside Abbey in Somerset. The monks do several different jobs, which they carry out in the gaps between the fixed times of prayer. These are when all the monks come together to praise God. Unlike missionaries and friars, who travel about quite a lot in the course of their work, monks tend to stay put in one place, so that the monastery becomes a focus for the prayer life of the local community.

    6.00 a.m.

    The day begins with the service of Vigils in the Abbey Church: this is the first and longest part of the 'Divine Office' that gives a framework to the monastic day. During Vigils the monks sing psalms and canticles from the Bible and listen to the Word of God and to the writings of Church Fathers. There follows a half-hour break for private prayer.

  • 7.05 a.m.

    Lauds. This if the Office of Praise, when the monks joyfully greet the dawn and ask God's blessing on the day's work. Lauds is shorter than Vigils, and more 'upbeat' in tone.

     

    9.15 a.m.

    After Mass, the monks go about their different jobs, whether it be teaching in the school, looking after a local parish, or dealing with visitors.

    1.10 p.m.

    Midday Prayer. In the middle of the working day, the monks pause to remember that it is God who gives value to their work and the strength to do it. This if followed by lunch. The monks begin by singing grace together; then, as they eat in silence, one of the brethren reads an extract which the Abbot has chosen: it might be an academic article from a journal, or a sermon or lecture.

  • In the afternoon the monks will be involved in whatever jobs are needed. Following which they will attend Vespers. Together with Lauds, Vespers is one of the 'hinges' of the day. For most of the community, the working day is done, and it is time to give thanks to God for the graces he has given during the day, in prayer and singing. After Vespers, there is another half-hour of silence so that the monks can pray privately or meditate on a passage of the Bible.

    6.45 p.m.

    Supper. As with the other meals, this is taken in silence, but the reading is lighter and more entertaining: it may be biography, history or travel writing. After supper is the time to relax together as a monastic family, to swap news, ideas, stories, and just to be together. It is important to have this time for conversation, as monasteries are very busy places, and people might not otherwise get the chance to talk.

    8.00 p.m.

    Compline. The last part of the Divine Office, which is sung off by heart in the darkened church. After Compline there is silence in the monastery until breakfast the next morning. Some will go to bed soon afterwards; for others there is still work to be done. Each monk has his own room, which is called a 'cell', though it is more comfortable than a prison cell!

    P&P-DOWNSIDE-3

Related Items

Encountering God – One Christian’s experience

Does God interact with people today?

  • Life
  • Video gallery
AC

Encountering God – One Christian’s experience

Does God interact with people today?

  • Life
  • Video gallery

The Bible describes how Jesus spent lots of time healing people. The Book of Acts describes how the first disciples and church leaders did the same. Many Christians believe that God wants them to pray for people to be healed today. Aliss Cresswell is an […]

Mother Teresa

What makes a person so special?

  • People
  • Video
MotherTeresa_094

Mother Teresa

What makes a person so special?

  • People
  • Video

Mother Teresa lived from 1910 to 1997. In 2016, she was declared a saint by the Catholic Church. She is famous for saying:”By blood, I am Albanian. By citizenship, an Indian. By faith, I am a Catholic nun. As to my calling, I belong to […]

Prayer – the answer we are not looking for.

What happens when our prayers seem to go unanswered?

  • Life
  • Video
nathan

Prayer – the answer we are not looking for.

What happens when our prayers seem to go unanswered?

  • Life
  • Video

One reason that Christians pray is because they believe it can change things. They believe that, just as in the Bible, miracles happen when a person prays. But what happens when a prayer seems to go unanswered and instead of getting better the person actually […]

Christianity Basically: Prayer

Why do Christians believe prayer is so important?

  • Life
  • Video
Christianity Basically Prayer Thumb

Christianity Basically: Prayer

Why do Christians believe prayer is so important?

  • Life
  • Video

We live in an age of instant communication but when was the last time you had a meaningful face to face conversation with a friend? At the heart of any relationship is good communication and that is the same for Christianity. In this film the […]

Jesus’ teaching – prayer

What did Jesus teach about prayer?

  • Jesus
  • Video
Screen Shot 2013-06-12 at 08.14.51

Jesus’ teaching – prayer

What did Jesus teach about prayer?

  • Jesus
  • Video

Watch the film to find out what Jesus taught about prayer, and how we can talk to God as we would a close friend.

  • Life
  • Text
Prayer

Christian Spirituality -Prayer as an act of worship

How and why do Christians pray?

  • Life
  • Text

Do you know anyone who prays? Some people pray regularly but sometimes prayer isn’t something people give much throught to at all. People pray in many different ways for lots of reasons. Christians see prayer as an important part of their relationship with God, after all […]

Christian Spirituality – Growing in a relationship with God

How does meditation play a part in Christian worship?

  • Life
  • Text
JESUS-TEACHING-WORRY

Christian Spirituality – Growing in a relationship with God

How does meditation play a part in Christian worship?

  • Life
  • Text

Life can be full of noise and distractions and many people like to practice meditation as an opportunity to unwind or reflect. Perhaps one might go to a meditation class or listen to a meditation CD. Some people practise yoga or pilates which include elements of meditation to help calm and […]

Christian Spirituality – Community Worship

Why do Christians worship together?

  • Life
  • Text
Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 09.55.44

Christian Spirituality – Community Worship

Why do Christians worship together?

  • Life
  • Text

Most people have experienced some form of community worship at some time. Whether that’s in a religious building, a prize giving ceremony, a school assembly with a thought for the day or even celebrating together at a football match. Worship means to show worth. Christians believe that […]

The Sermon on the Mount – Charity, Prayer and Fasting

What did Jesus have to say about giving, praying and going without?

  • Jesus
  • Text
02_Esther_Part_2_1024

The Sermon on the Mount – Charity, Prayer and Fasting

What did Jesus have to say about giving, praying and going without?

  • Jesus
  • Text

Have you ever raised money for charity? Maybe you have done a sponsored walk, worn a red nose or had your hair shaved off. Many people like to support charities. They make a big difference raising money for lots of worthy causes. In the past many people […]

  • Life
  • Timeline

Listening to God

How does God speak to people?

  • Life
  • Video
Listen

Listening to God

How does God speak to people?

  • Life
  • Video

Prayer isn’t just about talking at God; it’s about having a two-way conversation. That means talking to God and listening to what He says. Watch this film to find out some ways that God speaks to Christians.

How do you pray?

Taking time to speak with God

  • Life
  • Video
JESUS-TEACHING;PRAYER-girl

How do you pray?

Taking time to speak with God

  • Life
  • Video

Prayer isn’t just for Vicars, or just something that people do when things go badly wrong. Many Christians will pray everyday – in the good times and the bad times. Watch this film to see how some Christians like to pray to God.

Saint David

The Patron Saint of Wales

  • People
  • Video
St David

Saint David

The Patron Saint of Wales

  • People
  • Video

Watch this film to learn about Saint David – the disciplined Abbot and Church planter, who worked like he was working for God.

CARE – Christian Charity

What is CARE involved with?

  • People
  • Text
Houses of Parliament

CARE – Christian Charity

What is CARE involved with?

  • People
  • Text

Making a Christian difference for the sake of the future. CARE (Christian Action, Research and Education) has its roots in the 1971 Nationwide Festival of Light which took place in Trafalgar Square on 25 September 1971. By early evening, 60,000 Christians had gathered together, with […]

Mother Teresa

Why is Mother Teresa so famous?

  • People
  • Text
MotherTeresa_094

Mother Teresa

Why is Mother Teresa so famous?

  • People
  • Text

Mother Teresa was born on August 26, 1910, in Skopje, the current capital of the Republic of Macedonia. On August 27, 1910 she was baptized as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu. It was not until later that she was to take the name Mother Teresa. Agnes came […]

Sanctuary

What happened if you sought sanctuary?

  • People
  • Text

Sanctuary

What happened if you sought sanctuary?

  • People
  • Text

In the days before a police force, seeking sanctuary saved innocent lives. People accused of a crime could go to a holy place and be given protection from being killed before there had been a trial. You can read about it in the Bible (Exodus […]

Monastic Life

Could you live the life of a Monk or Nun?

  • Life
  • Text
P&P-DOWNSIDE-3

Monastic Life

Could you live the life of a Monk or Nun?

  • Life
  • Text

Western Monastic life began with Saint Benedict (480-547) when he started the first Benedictine Monastery at Monte Cassino, Italy, in 529AD. The monks and nuns lived in separate monasteries. Even today, little has changed in the daily routine. The daily life is still guided by […]

Holy Orders

What is it like to be a monk, a friar or a nun?

  • Life
  • Video gallery
Frier

Holy Orders

What is it like to be a monk, a friar or a nun?

  • Life
  • Video gallery

Some Christians choose to become monks, friars or nuns. When they do this, they give up their possessions and romantic relationships. They take vows of ‘Poverty’, ‘Chastity’ and ‘Obedience’. This is sometimes known as taking ‘Holy Orders’. Learn more about what it’s like to have […]

JESUS-TEACHING-PRAYER-written

How do Christians Pray?

  • Life
  • Text

There are all kinds of different ways Christians choose to pray. Some Christians practice meditation. In this type of prayer a Christian will think deeply about God. This involves organising a time when you will be on your own in silence. You might use something […]

Prayer

What is Christian prayer?

  • Life
  • Video gallery
Archbishop of York

Prayer

What is Christian prayer?

  • Life
  • Video gallery

What kind of picture do you have when you hear the word ‘prayer’? Have you ever prayed? What did you pray about? Why did you pray? For many Christians, prayer is just the name they give to speaking to God. It includes listening and thinking, […]

Worship

How do Christians worship?

  • Life
  • Video gallery
Worship

Worship

How do Christians worship?

  • Life
  • Video gallery

What would you say is the most important thing in your life? How do you show that to other people? For some people the most important thing might be a football team. They might go to see them play regularly. They might have posters of […]

Church of England Worship

How is the liturgy used in the Anglican Church?

  • Life
  • Text

Church of England Worship

How is the liturgy used in the Anglican Church?

  • Life
  • Text

At the heart of the Church of England lies worship. Christians believe that it is through encountering God within worship that we are changed to be more like Jesus. One form of worship that is encountered in church services is liturgical worship. Liturgy simply refers to […]

Worship in church

What happens inside a typical church?

  • Life
  • Timeline
IMG_0251

Worship in church

What happens inside a typical church?

  • Life
  • Timeline

Jesus’ Teaching: Prayer

What did Jesus teach about prayer?

  • Jesus
  • Text
JESUS-TEACHING;PRAYER-girl

Jesus’ Teaching: Prayer

What did Jesus teach about prayer?

  • Jesus
  • Text

Prayer is important for Christians, as they believe it is one of the main ways through which our relationship with God can grow deeper. Just as we grow closer to our friends when we spend time with them, so Christians believe that in spending time […]

Jesus’ teaching

What did Jesus teach people?

  • Jesus
  • Video gallery

Jesus’ teaching

What did Jesus teach people?

  • Jesus
  • Video gallery

Jesus was known as Rabbi or teacher as he taught people a lot about how they should live and the decisions they should make. But what exactly did Jesus teach about: revenge? worry? prayer? giving? These films show Jesus’ core teaching on these important issues.