The Hardest Thing to Do

Have you ever thought to yourself, “This is the hardest thing to do”? Author Penelope Willcocks has written a book with the title, The Hardest Thing to Do. She writes about her characters, monks in Saint Alcuin’s Abbey in the 14th century. Her gifted writing brings the monks to life. One example she acknowledges occurs as a novice whispers to himself, “This is the hardest thing to do” when he is closing a door as quietly as possible. Another time, when the abbot is addressing a difficult situation, he speaks softly to himself, “This is the hardest thing to do.” I have uttered these words especially when doing something for the first time. It may be as I am preparing to lead prayers, learning a new psalm tone or when asked to write an article for a publication. In the end, it usually turns out fine, and through the experience, I have gained confidence in myself. For me, simply saying the words “This is the hardest thing to do” helps me acknowledge that I do not want to give up, so I try a little harder to do a task a little better. I have learned to depend on God for assistance. Daily living in the monastery is a school if I am open to listen and learn. In fact, Saint Benedict calls the monastery a “school for the Lord’s service.”

If you would like more information about Saint Benedict’s Monastery, please contact Sister Lisa Rose at

Lisa Rose, OSB