Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Night Prayer

PERHAPS WAKING AT MIDNIGHT, or two or three in the morning, monks and nuns follow a prayer schedule that interrupts their sleep. The prayer takes place in the dark because the things of life and death are somehow focused in the night when people are often alone, or terrible sins and crimes are committed under cover of darkness. The monk prays in that awareness. 

Monastics also pray at night as a sign of the world's longing for light in the condition of our global darkness: the waste and destruction, the death and insults to life and human dignity.

Now and again, either because we are  tossing and turning the night away, or because something calls us out of our sleep: a bad dream, a storm, a car alarm, a baby's cry - we might call to mind that monks and nuns are praying. The prayer below invites solidarity with the world at night - even those in need who are far away and personally unknown to us.

And you know, even if we sleep like a rock, the prayer can always be used as a night time prayer before retiring. Somewhere in the world, monks and nuns are awake and praying for the world.

In this time of dark-solitude...Jesus. gladsome light.
Where monastics are awake in prayer...Jesus, Bethlehem's light.
Where children are awake in fear...Jesus, reassuring light.
Where there's night time domestic violence...Jesus, excellent light.

Where people are on the road or in the air...Jesus, who calls himself the light.
By deathbeds and in emergency rooms...Jesus, light of a new day.
With parents over sickbeds...Jesus, comforting light.
With doctors and nurses through the night...Jesus, land of light. 

Where there's sleepless worrying about tomorrow...Jesus, God-bearing light.
Where dark schemes are evolving...Jesus, growth-encouraging light.
Where night shadows conceal exploitation and desperation...Jesus, robed in light.
In the darkness of addiction...Jesus, house of light.

With the homeless poor...Jesus, hope-instilling light.
With prisoners awake...Jesus, joy-restoring light.
With mourners who will bury the dead tomorrow...Jesus, Resurrection light.
With those whose hunger prevents sleep...Jesus, strengthening light.

In prayer for those who are stealing or harming...Jesus, truth-carrying light.
For those whose homes are ruined by war...Jesus, shadow-dispersing light.
For those who intend violence and death tomorrow...Jesus, mind-changing light.
Near those arguing out of hatred, anger and fear...Jesus, healing light.
When physical pain relentlessly sears...Jesus, soothing hand of light.

Now perhaps click on the photo of the young Carthusian novice praying in his hermitage through the night. The monks are chanting the Lord's Prayer in Latin. It is very beautiful.


  1. Beautiful prayer Father.

  2. Surely, you have received the graces for this most compassionate prayer. Grateful for you and your posts.

  3. The dark of night is scary, as we don't know what is lurking in the shadows. Even the shadows of our minds. So it is reassuring to think of the monastics praying for the Light of Christ to cast out the darkness. Next time I feel the light fading, I will remember that prayer is at work somewhere and I will think about the rays reaching me, warming my soul.

  4. Father, I have been reading your blog for some time now and I have even commented a few times before. I always feel a sense of spiritual oneness when I read your prayers, knowing that others have landed here who share my love of Christianity. Furthermore, I have enjoyed the musical dimension that you have added to some more recent posts. It helps to focus my thoughts even further. I am grateful to anyone who helps me on my journey to Jesus.

  5. I know a United States Marine who lost his sight while fighting in Vietnam. He can't read the posts but he loves listening to the music. Wonderful heh?

  6. I feel as though, I am in the room with this monk when I enlarge the picture. This is very nice what you have done. Especially, how the crucifix appears on the wall. Feels good.

  7. Your prayer helps to strengthen my bond with God. I can realize a closeness that I previously did not know existed until I found these prayers that you wrote. They bring prayer to a higher and more meaningful level for me.

  8. I aim for two things in prayer, candor and confidence. I try to be honest before God. It's not easy. Moving beyond pious platitudes, spiritual cliches, and tired habits is hard. So, I keep returning to to the fact, that before God all my thoughts are known and none of my secrets are hid. I might as well try to be honest. With your helpful prayer instruction. I can be my true and unadorned self before God.