Monasteries of the Heart

Monks in Our Midst: Charles Cummings OCSO on waiting

The monastic night watch is good practice in the art of waiting, as we patiently look for the coming of dawn. Monks and nuns wait in the dark, longing for the light of dawn but unable to hasten its coming. No one can force the dawn or bring it about in any way. It dawns in its own good time on those who wait for it. The ability to wait is characteristic of those who have learned to slow down and live in the fullness of the present moment. By quietly watching and praying through the night, I learn to live with the slow process of my own spiritual growth. I have no control over the future and I do not know exactly what will happen. I am asked only to stay awake and be ready because the light will surely come and will claim its victory over every form of darkness, despair, suffering, and death.

Fr. Charles Cummings, O.C.S.O., is a Trappist monk, holds a degree in formative spirituality from Duquesne University and is a well-known author.

Consider: When has waiting been exciting and delightful for you? When has waiting been difficult and painful? What does waiting have to teach you about your spiritual journey?

To view or make comments you must be logged in to Monasteries of the Heart. If you are not yet a member, you can create a free membership account at now. A real person authenticates each new member account to avoid spam accounts so you will not have immediate access. As soon as your account is verified you will receive an email with further instructions.

Monks in Our Midst: writings by monks from the 3rd to the 21st centuries.