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Alison Francis OSC

Alison Francis, another sister of the Community of St Clare, reflects on the same quest for balance.

Work can be organized, but I can’t organize whatever it is we call prayer. All I can do is attend our daily eucharist and divine office, and set aside time each day for nothing but prayer. Although I don’t dare to say I am aware of God during either prayer or work, whenever I am not wholly concentrated on anything else I am involved in the quest of God and the question of God, just as I have a background awareness of the weather at any time. I feel close to St Francis in the tension between his desire for active service for others and for complete devotion to prayer, and in our community vocation a tension between intercession and praise and contemplation.

In the lives of the earliest monks in the desert we read of their assiduous daily recital of the psalter, and I notice that even my somewhat inattentive participation in our recitation of psalms – combined with the lectionary readings – provides my imagination and intellect with its daily bread.

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