Saturday, January 23, 2010

January 23 - Lessons on "Lectio"

We will remind ourselves today that we are dedicated to “conversatio morum suorum” . . . a change of manners, the conversion of the styles of our lives.

The postulant entering a monastery, will change within the first hours into a simple postulant’s habit; she will eat her next meal and all of the rest of them for the rest of her life according to what is placed before her, and when she has a few minutes of time to herself, it is directed and her resources are extremely limited, by Library of Congress or even Barnes and Nobles standards. Yet to her, the convent library represents a wealth of material focused upon the object of her life, the knowledge and the nearness of God.

The new Sister is immediately assimilated into the discipline and scope of the order, and she soon learns that even her thoughts are going to have to be overhauled, with gentle but unrelenting expediency, into the unfeigned and unfailing love of God. This, if she has been well-advised, is what she came for.

In the Abbey, she is not even at liberty to change for her own sake, but for His, and with the realization that conversion for selfish reasons is no conversion at all, she begins to progress. Every practice within the cloister walls is designed to relieve her of self-referential motives and impulses. The worship of God in the Divine Office, as well as the practice of never forgetting His nearness, is the new pinnacle of life for her.

For the last two days in Cor Unum, we have practiced the rudiments of “Lectio Divina,” the simple system of reading which directs the monastic toward God in the Scriptures and toward a path in life of continual conversion.

Again today, let us take up the Romans 12:1 and 2 verses, let us read them in quiet, slowly and prayerfully, watching and listening to what the Spirit of God will highlight and what He will reveal. Let us read them aloud, sometimes emphasizing one word and sometimes another. We might pray, today and ever, for the grace of reading the Word of God with the same inflection that the Spirit of God would put upon the words and phrases.

Today’s practice should add only a few minutes to our regular and disciplined study of the Word, if we have one in place, but it will enhance our reading forever.

Tomorrow in Cor Unum, we will meet, through the “grille” of time, one of the most prolific writers, one of the most sought after speakers of the twentieth century, for whom the world was a cloister and the Spirit of God was the Superior, who will have something to teach us about making sure God’s Word lights our paths.

"Thy Word is a Lamp"
photo by Kerry


  1. Let us, for the sake of newcomers to Cor Unum, continue our "conversatio" choice for the last eleven days to the end of the month.

    We will begin to rotate our "conversions" on a bi-monthly basis, beginning at the first of next month.

    Thank you, dear ones,

  2. It seems like these nuns knew what they had to do to become empty of self and full of God. What a wonderful example they've set for the rest of us.

  3. Patty . . . you "summed up." As far as I've ever been able to see, they did what worked, and as far as I know, that is what sparked my interest.


Your comments and corrections are welcome in Cor Unum Abbey . . .