In St Benedict’s short but important chapter “Announcing the Hours for the Work of God” we have the one the large philosophical underpinnings of Christian life. And that is, because of the Incarnation of Jesus, all matter, all time is ultimately to be sanctified, and has even now the capacity to carry the holy, the intimation of God to us. The difference between ‘secular’ and ‘sacred’ in other words is only apparent and not actual.
So because the monastic life is in essence kinetic theology, the ordinary Christian life in Very Large Print, we take this work of the sanctification of time and matter seriously, attending to prayer—and work, but that’s the next chapter—at regular intervals from before sunrise to nightfall.
These regular intervals of prayer, as well as the habit of recollection, have a lively resonance at Epiphany, when magi seeking a king find him, not in splendor and delight, but in a small and utterly obscure corner, common and poor enough to be otherwise completely overlooked. There is Jesus, enthroned in the common and obscure, and there brought gifts.
We too come, by the regular practice of seeking him at all times, to give him the gift of ourselves and all that we have to offer. And we may rest assured that if we do not seem to find him, while we seek, “seeking is as good as beholding” as Julian recognized, and that the one we seek is all the more seeking us, who are his delight.