At midnight, there was a cry. Behold, the Bridegroom! Come out to meet Him! (Mt. 25:6)

matinsAt the Bethlehem Priory, our day begins at midnight with the liturgical hour of Matins. Pictured above are the sisters praying Matins during the Christmas Season. This hour, observed during the night vigil, has “an eschatological character, recalling the watching recommended by Jesus in expectation of His second coming (cf. Mk. 13:35-37)” (John Paul II, General Audience, April 4, 2001). Rising at midnight to recite the psalms is an ancient monastic exercise which has it roots in pre-christian Jewish Liturgy: “At midnight I rise to praise you, because of your righteous rules” (Psalm 119:62). It is recorded in the book of Acts that “about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them” (Acts 16:25).

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