Wednesday, January 20, 2010

January 21 - "Lectio Divina"

Here in Cor Unum, the monastery of the heart, we are practicing the lives of which the Apostle Paul wrote in the first verses of Romans 12.

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Had we entered an earthly abbey on January 1, by this time it is likely that we would have been given a short passage from the Scripture or from some worthy spiritual reading to start us out on the monastic version of The College Bowl, Lectio Divina.

The ancient scholars and shepherds of monasticism are referred to as the Doctors of the faith. The newest postulant in the abbey is also the most recent inductee into a spiritual graduate program. The engraving over the door to the halls of spiritual learning might well admonish us:

Be Transformed

Lectio Divina is one of the tools the Abbess or Abbot would employ to make sure our training began as it should go on. Very seldom does the monastic walk across the world’s stage, but those who remain in the Abbey will receive the “doctorate” of the profession of their vows.

In Lectio, the monastic considers a divine thought or concept, allows it to make its own impression upon the understanding, and then assimilates the truth of the concept purposefully and sequentially.

There are many forms that Lectio can take, but for today, let us set aside three to five minutes in order to allow those first two verses from Romans 12 to become living words, reviving our hearts in Cor Unum.

First we read the passage in quiet. We read it again. We read it again. We make note of what stands out to us. It might be a segment of the statement or a sense of the whole thought or an inner conviction that presents itself for our consideration. We read the passage again, and when we know our own thoughts and the impressions of the Spirit of God within us, we may write just one or two sentences in our “lab books.” We strive to be so concise that we cannot forget what we have discovered.

For today, let us make the discovery of the life of the living Word of God, within the monastery of our hearts.

photo by Kerry

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