Archive for June, 2006
Lectio Divina (Latin for godly reading) is a simple yet profound method of prayer found in many traditions of Christian spirituality, though perhaps most associated with Saint Benedict and the monastic tradition.
Sometimes it is called “meditative reading” or “spiritual reading”, but could perhaps better be described as praying with a listening heart, since most of the people who have used this approach to prayer throughout the ages could not read.
June 29th, 2006
Shawn Anthony, at Lo-Fi Tribe, has written a piece (which has now disappeared — January 2007) on how to structure a daily space for meditation–what he calls a template. It made me think about two of the templates I am familiar with and have found helpful along the way–the monastic practice of Lectio Divina and the Ignatian approach to prayer via the imagination. Energy and concentration permitting I’ll say a little about both in the coming days.
June 29th, 2006
The storms we experience in the readings today are as ambiguous as any we face in our living. Are they destroying hurricanes or are they occasions when the veil is blown away to give a glimpse of God?
We have two storms, today. We hear God finally answering Job from the heart of the whirlwind—all noise and thunder and know-it-all. And we have the terrified disciples caught at sea by a squall while Jesus sleeps quietly on a cushion.
We have two awkward questions, too. We have Job the proverbial good man to whom bad things happen. Why? And we have the disciples making their heartfelt plea—‘Master, we are going under! Don’t you care?’
June 25th, 2006
I used the following reflection on story and discernment a few weeks ago with a group trying to reflect on their own life and ministry together and discern a possible way forward. I’m posting a slightly edited version here…
A little while ago I was given the DVDs of a science fiction show I’d wanted to see but missed called ‘Firefly’ — think Cowboys and Indians in spaceships — and it’s a lot of fun, and very well written, with 8 or 9 well-drawn characters that over the short series grow and take shape and show their stories and change each other in all sorts of ways and hint at secrets and stories yet to be told. Because it was a series that was cancelled part way through. A story with no ending. With loose ends. A dozen stories still waiting to be told. And my intense curiosity about each character and what they still had left to tell, and about the group, the whole, and their collective story which seemed to be going … somewhere, having some significance. I hate not knowing what happens to Inara. I really want to know who Shepherd Book really is and where Simon and his sister are headed. And I never will. Unless I make it up myself. And that doesn’t really work. Because half the pleasure is not in making up, but in appreciating the reality of the characters and the sense that behind them there is an author with a hope.
Continue Reading June 21st, 2006
Pauline—one of the Loyola Hall team—Pauline spends most of late winter trying to convince the rest of us, at every meal, that the beech trees are about to get their leaves. The rest of us peer at the barren branches and enjoy ourselves pouring scorn on Pauline. This goes on regularly for weeks until she loses heart. Then one day you look out the window yourself and there they are—somehow the trees have crept up on you and covered themselves with green fuzz. And before you know it everywhere is bright with that fresh tender salad-y green.
Living in a garden like this one, that kind of thing happens all year round. There’s a particular dark-red rhododendron that pokes me in the eye once a year when one morning in early summer I pull back my curtains and somehow it has crept into full and blousy bloom when I’d swear it wasn’t even budding the night before.
June 18th, 2006
We all make promises … and we all break them. Yes, we say, we will do X or Y or Z … but find A and B come to hand instead. Some promises we make lightly and in haste and renege on them with hardly a qualm. Other promises gather a life’s hope and commitment to a honed edge so sharp it draws blood when once again we cannot be who we thought we could.
Blood and promises. The ancient habit of blood sacrifice seems a strange way to seal a promise but even so many centuries later we can feel the weight and thrill and solemnity of sloshing around all that blood. The studiers of symbols say blood stands for life but you and I know blood means death and it is death that seals promises. We know it in the schoolyard: cross my heart and hope to die. We know it at the altar: till death us do part.
June 15th, 2006
The good news: Pray As You Go has been extended indefinitely. There’ll be (week-)daily podcasts for the foreseeable future as the project has been a great success, both in terms of number of downloads (past the quarter million mark) and user feedback.
The bad news: my health has been pretty lousy recently and blogging has petered out. Sorry! I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome aka ME and the graded exercise treatment programme I am in has been making things rather worse… so far at least. I’ll post more as I improve and have the stamina to preside at liturgy more.
June 2nd, 2006