Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
After having looked at prayer in general, we continue this series on the spiritual life by looking at some schools of spirituality that will help us in our practice of meditation and contemplation. One such school is monastic spirituality or the spirituality that developed in Western Christianity in the monasteries. Throughout the history of Christianity, many men and women have been called by God to seek Him by living separate from the world as hermits or in communities. In the West, followers of the early monks, especially St. Benedict (480- 547), have followed a common spirituality. Even though we are not called to live in monasteries, this monastic spirituality can aid us in our journey of growing closer to God. We can improve our relationship with God by learning from the monks about lectio divina. This is a special form of prayer used by the monks that we can use during our time set aside for prayer. The first step is to read and reread a passage from Scripture – this is the lectio, or reading stage. Then, we meditate on what we have read by prayerfully finding themes from the text that apply to our lives. In the next stage, we prayerfully turn to God by connecting our insights from the text to Him; what He is asking of us, etc. Finally, we enjoy the stage of contemplation in which we are lifted up to God in peace and quiet. By practicing lectio divina, we use the time we set aside for prayer to draw closer to God by prayerfully meditating on Scripture. Each week, we provide an outline in the bulletin to assist you in this form of meditation called lectio divina. A few weeks ago, there was an insert with a plan to read the Bible in a year. It might be a nice thing to use this method of meditation as you do your daily reading of Scripture.
In Jesus through Mary,
Fr. Adam Streitenberger