3:20 AM: Along the corridors of the monastery, the frère règlementaire (literally: regulation friar) wakes the other monks with a bell for Matins.
Taking literally the sentence of the psalmist: “At midnight I will rise unto thee” (Ps. 119), the monks leave their cells and gather in the church at an early hour, when everything else is still asleep. They dedicate to God the first hour of their day, alternating psalm chanting and lectures for one hour, or two hours on Sundays and feasts.
From dawn to night, seven offices – Lauds (6 AM), Prime (7:45 AM), Terce (9:30 AM), Sext (12 noon), None (2 PM), Vespers (5:30 PM) and Compline (7:45 PM) shall organize the day of the monk: “Seven times a day do I praise thee” (Ps. 119).
Why seven? Because this number, in the Old Testament, symbolises perfection, the continuity of time, which is a reflection of eternity. While the outside world is agitated like a buzzing beehive, the monk stands still before God, in the name of the Church, interceding for his brothers in the world.
Additionally, the Mass is sung by the community right in the middle of the morning. After the office of Lauds, at each of the little altars of the church, each priest offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, renewing the Sacrifice of Calvary for the glory of God and the salvation of the entire world.
In order to prepare for these two important moments of the liturgical day, Mass and Vespers, the monks gather in the cloister, and meditate for a few minutes before entering the church in procession.
8:30 PM: After a busy day, from the end of Compline until the first office of the morning, the monastery is resting in deepest silence. A last prayer to the Holy Virgin and the guardian Angel, and the monks go to sleep, pervaded with the trust of children of God. In pace in idipsum dormiam, et requiescam ; quoniam tu, Domine, singulariter in spe constituisti me. I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety (Ps. 4).