Covid-19: a Carmelite reflection on the value of structure in prayer and life

Monday, 23 March 2020

As part of the Carmelite Order's contribution to well-being in the current coronavirus pandemic, Fr. Kevin Alban, Prior Provincial of the British Province of Carmelites, offers the first reflection in a series on prayer...


Fr. Kevin Alban, O.Carm., preaching at Aylesford Priory in 2019.



The Friars



22 March 2020


Dear Friends,


I thought I would begin to send some thoughts on prayer over the coming weeks as part of the Carmelite contribution in these difficult times. The community here in Aylesford is doing just fine and taking every precaution against infection with the COVID-19 virus. We are also keeping up the regular rhythm of prayer. So, Morning Prayer at 8 am, Mass at 12.30 pm, Midday Prayer at 1.45 pm and Evening Prayer at 6.30 pm.


To reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19, the Carmelite friars at Aylesford are currently praying in the priory's community room.


All the experts are telling us that when we are confined to our homes and maybe alone it is very important to give the day a structure. Using the Prayer of the Church is a great way to establish a rhythm and a pattern to the day. Then maybe meals can be fitted into the prayer framework and lo and behold we have a shape to the day which is balanced between the spiritual and bodily needs. There are many online resources which offer the texts of the Church’s prayer.


Over the centuries, religious communities have always followed a regular life of prayer, work and rest which is a significant way of creating well-being in our lives. The external structure of our prayer is neither an artificial nor a merely conventional aspect of the spiritual life.


There is a very practical benefit to this daily structure – it reminds us to pray!! How many times have I promised myself that I would set aside a prayer period and then arrived at the end of the day having forgotten all about it??!! At the most fundamental level, remembering to eat, reminds us to pray! That’s why I suggested making a link between prayer and food!! Patterns and frameworks are part of our humanity at every level from our most basic needs to our highest spiritual aspirations. Linking all our needs and desires, interior and exterior, helps us to live whole, integrated lives.


In a few days, I’ll write again and continue my reflection on “why prayer is good for us”…


Wishing you a happy Mother’s Day and a healthy life – at all levels.


Kevin Alban O. Carm.



Text: Fr. Kevin Alban, O.Carm.

Photography: Dr. Johan Bergström-Allen, T.O.C.; Fr. Kevin Alban, O.Carm.