I recently found this wonderful quote from St. John Chrysostom through one of my current students:
Coincidentally, I have been reading The Rule of St. Benedict, which in some fashion governs the monastic communities in the Benedictine tradition. I am struck by how much my own practice of prayer for the last more than three decades has been shaped by Benedictine spirituality, and especially the place of the Psalms within it. The basic patterns of the Liturgy of the Hours were at least codified, if not created, by St. Benedict in the 6th century. Among other things, Benedict prescribed that all 150 Psalms were to be sung each week. After having set forth the pattern of sung psalms through the successive prayer hours during the night and day, he offers this:
For those of us who are even more tepid than St. Benedict and his followers, some are content to sing through the Psalms every 30 days, as prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer, or at an even slower pace. Inspired by these readings, this past weekend I versified and arranged another psalm, this time Psalm 133, which extols the joys of living in community:
Of course, most of us do not live in monasteries. But what if the ordinary communities of which we are part, namely, families, schools, work communities, &c., were to adopt something of this Benedictine spirituality, praying through the psalms together on a regular basis? By God's grace, it could just transform these very communities.