Friday, December 09, 2005

Eucharist in the Evening

The traditional time for Mass in a Benedictine Monastery is after the office of Prime in the morning. In many ways, we are a traditional house, but in other ways, namely our being in the midst of a modern city, we adapt our life to conform to a mission of evangelization. One adaptation is that we have our Mass at 5:45 p.m. on weekdays. At times, brothers raise the question of having it at a more normal time. This would mean either having Mass around 9:00 a.m. (when very few people could attend), or moving Vigils up to about 3:30 a.m. (not absurd by monastic standards, but impractical for us, since the city is simply too noisy to allow us to sleep much before 8:00 p.m.). So Mass has always stayed about where it is.

On the other hand, there is something wonderful about a feast like our celebration of the Imaaculate Conception yesterday, in which we began the celebration on Wednesday with the First Vespers at 7:30 p.m., then had the liturgy build all day yesterday culminating with the celebration of the Eucharist at the end of the day, right before our festive evening meal. While I myself enjoy starting the day with the Eucharistic sacrifice, ending the day is not entirely without its significance and merit.

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