Rorate Caeli

The Hours at the Abbey - 1: MATINS

It is still quite dark, even though we are in June. Summer is around the corner, but the air is very cold and very damp. The roosters are quiet.

We open the gate, and the temperature inside the vast nave is even colder. Flickering candles are the only sign of human presence. Moments later, the first noises are the ruffling of dozens of habits as the choir stalls fill one by one.

The Great Silence is finally broken: words, not very audible from the nave, and then a chant: VENITE, EXSULTEMUS DOMINO...

Few words in the liturgy are as powerful as "Invitatory". All of Creation is truly invited. The early hours of late vernal daylight in this corner of the Northern Hemisphere mean that the first signs of twilight shine through the stained glass. The roosters sing: the loud birdsong passes through the ancient stone walls and provide the perfect backdrop: Cedant tenebræ lumini, et nox diurno sideri...

And the Psalms of old Israel break through the passing darkness, one after the other, a true crescendo of beauty and Faith: each doxology seems louder as the monks firm up their voices.

Pater Noster...

The Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ is truly present: He listens, He will guide the new day. From the Old Testament, He teaches eternal truths through the voices of the Fathers. 

The prayers of our Ancestors fill the Abbey, the Collects crafted from apostolic certitude in Antiquity. 


The sun is up: time has come for the perfect praise of Lauds.