From my prayer retreat at the monastery, post 4

July 15: Vigilance and Vigil

Vigilance is related to another key word, vigil. A prayer vigil is a period of watching and waiting on God. If we want to remain vigilant in devotion to God so we are not continually turning to the world and turning back to God in repentance, we must maintain an ongoing prayer vigil in our lives. Again I think of the ancient Benedictine pattern of observing prayer as many as seven times during the day and once in the middle of the night. Benedictines have historically prayed the entire Psalter in a week’s time. Their tradition is one of ongoing vigil. Benedict rightly teaches that the one who wants to become intimate with God must keep his eyes fixed on Christ, finding and communing with God in each and every moment. I don’t know what there is to learn and master that is more important than this.

As we progress in our relationship with God, we find that our sensitivity to turning away from God grows acute. We repent for sins we wouldn’t even have noticed in the past. This ever-increasing sensitivity to our own error is progress. So is the quickness with which we can repent and turn back wholeheartedly to God. And so is the vigilance – the continual communion with him.

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