Father Simeon Daly, OSB - Finding Grace in the Moment: Stories and other Musings of an Aged Monk


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A Monk Reflects on a Life of Prayer
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During a recent stay in the hospital, I was without my prayer books, but not without prayer. Short passages from the Psalms and the Gospels that I had memorized over the years kept me focused and comforted:

    O God, come to my assistance.
    O Lord, make haste to help me.
    I will go to the altar of God, the God of my youth.
    O God, be gracious and bless us, and let your face shed its light upon us.


It will soon be 60 years since I first began building my day around the regular round of prayer in church. While I was faithful to my duties, it was probably about 15 years before I truly embraced Divine Office as the core of my day. I came to make my own

St. Benedict’s expression that “nothing should be preferred to the Work of God.”

    My heart is ready, O God. My heart is ready.
    Hide not your face, O Lord. Hide not your face. It is your face I seek.


St. Benedict, in his Rule, has some powerful insights on prayer, but no extended treatment. He urges that we be ever mindful of God’s presence and listen to God calling us. Prayer follows. You breathe in awareness and breathe out praise and thanksgiving.

We participate in the daily Office no matter how we feel, striving to keep our minds in harmony with our voices. Over time, this practice begins to mold the character of the monk.

    Show me, Lord, your way so that I may walk in your truth. Guide my heart to fear your name.
    Not my will but thine be done.


Anyone who spends much time here at Saint Meinrad soon learns the centrality of prayer. Whether in the monastery or the School, among the retreatants or visitors, prayer of one sort or another is part of the scene. Many of you who read this reflection can attest to this truth.

    Send forth your light and your truth. Let these be my guide. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, the place where you dwell.
    I believe, Lord! Help my unbelief.


For me, it has been a joy to be part of the transition in our public prayer that allows students and visitors to participate freely. The shift from Latin to English has been a major factor. More dramatic has been the community’s effort to enhance the prayer and prayer-space in our church so that participation is not the exception, but the expected.

    Let the peoples praise you, O God. Let all the people praise you.


I led a busy life working in the library for 51 years, but I am grateful beyond my fondest hopes that the daily round of prayer in church has formed the backbone of my day. Each day, with my body and my spirit, I try to deepen my awareness of my dependence on God, acknowledging it by prayers of thanksgiving, adoration, reparation and petition through the Psalms we sing and say.

    Into your hands I commend my spirit.


Truthfully, I do not look forward with enthusiasm to the diminishment of advanced age and infirmity that is seeping over my life. However, I have deep faith that I am on the right track with the prayer that has been instilled in me over the years. I pay homage to my Creator, the present and provident God, and I accept with thanksgiving the gift of life, even in its fading phases. I pray.
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