Stopping 3-4 times a day and cultivating rhythms to be with God each day out of which we serve Him is foundational to our staff life at New Life. The following is Geri’s midday prayer handout that she led the staff through this past Wednesday. Savor it before the Lord during one of your Offices (pauses) during the day. There are actually five movements of Lectio Divina:
- Silentio–Preparing to be read by God.
- Lectio – Ingesting the Word
- Meditatio – Wrestling with God
- Oratio –Letting God know how we feel
- Contemplatio – Abandoning ourselves to God in love
- Incarnatio – The Word becoming flesh in us.
Lets now, together do each of these overlapping phases togetherSilentio 1 min. Lectio – Ingesting the Word My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty; I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed myself and quieted my ambitions. I am like a weaned child with its mother;like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore. (Psalm 131) Pause I will lure you into the desert and there I will speak to your heart. (Hosea 2:14) Pause NT Readings But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:6) Pause Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it. (Luke 18:17) Pause Devotional Reading: People have long puzzled over what Jesus meant by suggesting withdrawal into a room and shutting the door to pray. Was this simply to cleanse prayer of a possible lurking self-display of piety if it were done publicly? Or is this “closed room” a synonym for solitude (i.e. when I’m never far from myself)? Hosea 2:14 is a verse that may speak personally to each of us: “I will lure you into the desert and there I will speak to your heart.” This verse links solitude to prayer. For until I have been lured into the desert, until I have been brought in solitude to the very ground of my being where I am beyond the grip of my surface self with all its plans and distractions, I am not able to hear the divine whisper. Interestingly this solitariness, this “desert stillness” where God may speak to us in the depths of our hearts, is not only a principal requirement of prayer but also of almost any genuine creation in nearly every area. We know serious things have to be done in silence. In silence human beings love, pray, listen, compose, paint, write, think and suffer. This is probably because solitude is a way of restoring in us an interior space that is meant to be there. We can learn a great deal from children in this respect. Frances Wickes, a leading therapist, told the story of a seven-year old child brought to her because of sleeplessness. The child confided to her that he had to wake up at night to think “because you can’t think in the day. There isn’t time.” His mother had filled his day with so many activities. The taste for solitude is not only an adult discovery but is inherent in children that have managed to survive the fierce extrovert passion of our culture. (from a devotional at St. Joseph’s Abbey, Spencer, MA) 7 minutes for the following: – Silentio – Preparing to be read by God. When we go and sit in silence, when we turn our minds to our Creator, we begin the process of allowing God to be the center of our world. – Daniel Wolpert The most formidable enemy of the spiritual life…. is self-deception; and if there is a better cure for self-deception than silence, it has yet to be discovered. – E. Herman -Lectio – Ingesting the Word We are doing more than reading words,…we are listening with the heart to the Holy within. – Richard Foster – Meditatio – Wrestling with God Meditation is more effective when you involve several aspects of yourself – thinking, feeling, imagining, sending. – Machiene Vroon Rienstra Often we shall have to stop with one sentence or even one word because we have been gripped or arrested and cannot evade it any longer. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer – Oratio – Letting God know how we feel Oratio is the direct cry of the heart of God that rises when we have heard ourselves personally addressed through the Word. – Marjorie Thompson – Contemplatio – Abandoning ourselves to God in love. To know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge – St. Paul In contemplative prayer the Spirit places us in a position where we are at rest and disinclined to fight. – Thomas Keating – Incarnatio – The Word becoming flesh in us. One way to understand incarnation is to become sensitive to the difference between “being in the world for God” and “being in God for the world.” – M. Robert Mulholland.