Monday, October 8, 2012

Come, Author of Lectio

Between supper and night prayer in a monastery, usually there is recreation.  However, in this between-supper-and-night-prayer-post, we'll spend our time talking about "tomorrow."

As we know by now, our next monastic "day" (which may become two weeks long!) is one in which we will pray to be immersed in lectio.  With that in mind, I'd like to take a brief look, in advance, at what my personal hopes are for this. 

First:  what this is not: 

- This is not a book club, where a particular book is discussed.  Yes, I've recommended one, and I'll quote from it because I find it one of the more "reader friendly" titles I've personally discovered on the subject of lectio.  But having and reading this volume is not "necessary" for anyone else.

- This will not be a series of "teachings," although hopefully the quotes I'll use (from several sources) will help us learn more about lectio divina from those who have written about it.

Second:  what I hope this will become:

-  I would love to see us move from reading about lectio divina into practicing it, into becoming comfortable doing so, and even into hungering for it.  Hungering for "lectio" is, of course, hungering for Scripture, and for prayer.

Which is, of course, hungering for God.

- We talk here at The Cloistered Heart about "living through the grille," about developing a habit of seeing and responding to all persons and all circumstances through the grillwork of the will of God.  Our basic grillwork is Scripture.

So:  I see the practice of lectio divina as a builder of our grilles. 

-  The thought came to me to do this in the framework of another "day".. because my hope is that Scripture will became, for each of us, a "grille" which will go with us into every part of every day. 

"The presence of the Holy Spirit in the Church enables all who accept its guidance and live in its communion to read the inspired Scriptures by the light of the same Spirit by Whom they were written.. the written words of the New Testament are ... a place where Christ can still be encountered and where He has promised that His words will transform those who receive them."  (Daniel Rees, Consider Your Call, Cistercian Publications, 1980, p. 262).

We rely on God alone to lead us.  It is the Holy Spirit of God Who inspired the writers of Scripture.  It is the Holy Spirit of God Who speaks the words afresh into my own heart, into my own life, as I prayerfully read them.

This is the basis, the framework, the great bottom line, of Lectio Divina.

Lectio is to be an encounter with the Person of Christ. 

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of Your faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of Your love.  Send forth Your Spirit and they shall be created.  And You shall renew the face of the earth.

To continue our second monastic day, click this line