The true work of a contemplative nun is praying. I had never appreciated the power and intensity of prayer until I prayed with nuns.
On the surface, praying seems easy. Knit your eyebrows in concentrations, mutter a few words, and then get on with your day. It’s not like that in a convent. Think of the hardest job you could do—mining comes to my mind—and then imagine doing that in silence and in a dress.
Every day the sisters descended into the Pit of the Soul, picked at the seam of despair, sadness, tragedy, death, sickness, grief, destruction, and poverty, loaded it all onto a cart marked “For God,” and hauled it up from the depths of concern to the surface of mercy, where they cleaned it and polished it. It was heavy, laborious work.
- Jane Christmas, And Then There Were Nuns (Greystone, 2013).1
1 Quoted at the blog of John G. Stackhouse Jr.; http://www.johnstackhouse.com/2014/04/07/the-hard-work-of-prayer/