By Collin Medeiros
It was only when the bell had struck its final tone that young Placidus realized he was awake, in the real world, and had someplace to be. He flew from his bed, fastened his leather belt around the brown tunic he had slept in, put his knife in its sheath, and hurried out of his cell into the still-dark morning.
He walked briskly to the chapel, but did not run, and he managed to catch the door before it closed behind the other novice, Brother Anthony, who had almost overslept. Inside, the simply adorned chapel was full of pages being flipped and the creaks of old wood benches and aging monks. Two candles were lit on the altar, and a sweet incense meandered throughout the room.
A few nuns from the neighboring convent were there in the pews, as were some locals, usuals, who had found the pearl long ago and never tired of its beauty. When the shuffling had subsided, and the throats were cleared, there was a brief moment of silence, long enough for Placidus to remember that today was his turn to clean the stables. This was a punishment for having unfairly kicked one of the goats for being – as his superior had put it while lovingly taking the dahlia bloom from its mouth – a goat.
Father Benedict, the cantor, stood, made the sign of the cross, and began with the second verse of Psalm 69, “Oh God, come to my assistance.” The whole room intoned, “Oh Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, a world without end. Amen. Alleluia.”
So every day began for young Placidus, and so the start of day still begins every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the Burton Community Church. John rings the bell at 6:30 a.m., candles and incense are lit, prayers start at 6:35 p.m. and are sung until 7 p.m.
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” The prayer of the church is a river whose source is before time and whose destiny is eternal. Come, grab a prayer book, and jump in!