At a recent quiet day, a number of us spent some time reflecting on the “sacred places of monasticism”. (And before you ask, no, I’m not considering joining a nunnery.) This is simply a tool for seeking to engage with God in each aspect of our day-to-day living. For the monks in mediaeval times, this meant learning to honour God in various physical locations – chapel, cell, refectory, garden, cloister, chapter, scriptorium and coracle.
Today, it’s helpful to think of these places as representing different areas of our lives, so that the refectory stands for hospitality and relationships, the cloister for unexpected encounters, and so on. Trying to expand on these themes led to the poem below:
Christ be in me in this act of worship:
A time to meet, to sing, to watch and pray.
Christ be in me; Christ be in each one of us –
As hearts and minds unite to honour you.
Christ be in me in this place of stillness:
A secret space to be alone with you.
No clamouring voices here distract my thoughts;
I wait in full surrender for your touch.
Christ be in me now, and in my dwelling:
Lord, bless the friends – and strangers – at my table.
May those who enter here discern your presence,
And leave encouraged, mended and affirmed.
Christ be in me in my occupation;
And let each hour of toil be work for you.
Help me reflect the glory of your gospel
To shine your light where darkness would prevail.
Christ be in each unexpected meeting:
Those unforeseen events are known by you.
So give me grace to use those chance encounters
To share your love with all who are in need.
Christ be in me in my conversations:
Teach me to wait and listen – not just talk!
Help me to open up myself to others;
To grow, and in that growing, build your church.
Christ be in my reading and my writing:
Direct my daily choices, help me learn.
You are the living Word throughout all ages,
So may my words illuminate your truth.
Christ be in my journey: be the signpost
That guides my feet down undiscovered paths.
Your Spirit leading me to new adventures,
And this shall be my prayer: Christ be in me.