Question: Where and how do you pray outside?
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Transcript of Video:
The place for prayer doesn’t have to be something that’s particularly quiet or withdrawn. I’ve found I really appreciate praying the labyrinth, which – the Brothers don’t have a labyrinth, at least not at the moment. There is a labyrinth not that far away, but it’s at a busy intersection here in Cambridge in a public park. And I’ve found I really enjoy praying it. At first I wished it could be in the monastic enclosure: “I wish this could be in our garden, I wish I was in my house; I wish I was in a quiet place.” I’m not, I’m at Western Memorial, and it’s busy and there’s always traffic there when I’m praying the labyrinth. And I found, as I told my Brothers, actually that’s appropriate. It’s appropriate to pray in public, to pray with noise. And part of praying the labyrinth is this act of surrender. You’re going to the center. You have to continually turn around, literally. You don’t get lost, you just have to keep turning around, and that’s what life is so much like.
So I really appreciate praying the labyrinth early in the morning, because it’s a practice of letting go, and it’s letting go in the midst of daily life. It’s letting go at Western Memorial when there’s traffic on both sides. And I feel a little bit self-conscious, at least at first, praying here. But it’s there that I’m choosing to let go: choosing to turn around again and again, because when I go back to the Monastery, that’s what I’m going to do inside. I’m going to turn around again and again as I ask for help – or keep learning to ask for help – from my Brothers as we sing together, as we eat together, as I meet with people, as I struggle to write and speak and lead and do all of those things, I’m having to turn around constantly. Things don’t go as I expect. And so praying the labyrinth in public at a busy intersection has actually been quite a gift.
So where do we pray? Maybe it’s at an intersection. Maybe it’s not the location you would expect or want, but perhaps you have been given a place to surrender, a place to turn around, a place to remember what’s most important, on a subway, as you drive, in a place that seems farthest from church or a prayerful place and yet – as a gift for you – may actually have the words for you, the invitation that are right for you today.
-Br. Luke Ditewig