Thursday, October 31, 2013

Lectio Divina Online replaced with News of the World Lectio Divina

I've recently begun creating a series of daily videos called News of the World Lectio Divina, which are inspired by Lectio Divina and which have come to replace the Lectio Divina Online postings.  They combine chanting of the New York Times and the psalms and provide a way of entering into prayer for the world as if attending a very brief prayer service, one to three minutes long.

The ancient prayers of the psalms ask many of the same questions that we might be asking as we listen to the troubling events described in the news: Where is God while all this is happening?  Will God do anything if I pray?  Why is the world so lost?  

Both the news and the psalms are full of material that may evoke difficult feelings in the listener.  It’s all right to hear the words of prayer that are being chanted and not agree with them.  Prayer does not demand that we stop questioning, doubting, thinking, or struggling to find our own voice.  These prayers invite you to be with your thoughts and feelings about what is happening in the world and go deeper, whatever that may mean for you. 

If you are interested, these videos can be found on Youtube and Facebook and there is more information about them on my website.  I would love to hear your comments and suggestions.  

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Lectio Divina 157

Luke 10:38 - 42

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he was saying. But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lectio Divina 156

Marilynne Robinson, Gilead.  New York: Picador, 2004, p. 179.

So my advice is this – don’t look for proofs.  Don’t bother with them at all.  They are never sufficient to the question, and they’re always a little impertinent, I think, because they claim for God a place within our conceptual grasp.  And they will likely sound wrong to you even if you convince someone else with them.  That is very unsettling over the long term.  “Let your works so shine before men,” etc.  It was Coleridge who said Christianity is a life, not a doctrine, words to that effect.  I’m not saying never doubt or question.  The Lord gave you a mind so that you would make honest use of it.  I’m saying you must be sure that the doubts and questions are your own, not, so to speak, the mustache and walking stick that happen to be the fashion of any particular moment.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lectio Divina 155

Saul Bellow, quoted in The New Yorker, July 22, 2013

When you open a novel – and I mean of course the real thing – you enter into a state of intimacy with its writer.  You hear a voice or, more significantly, an individual tone under the words.  This tone you, the reader, will identify not so much by a name, the name of the author, as by a distinct and unique human quality.  It seems to issue from the bosom, from a place beneath the breastbone.  It is more musical than verbal, and it is the characteristic signature of a person, of a soul.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Lectio Divina 154

Teresa of Avila

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks with
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lectio Divina 153

Swami Sri Yukteswar Giri, quoted in Hinduism Today, July/August/September 2013, 18.

Quotations there have been, in superabundance.  But what original commentary can you supply from the uniqueness of your particular life?  What holy text have you absorbed and made your own?  In what ways have these timeless truths renovated your nature?  Are you content to be a hollow phonograph, mechanically repeating the words of other men?

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Lectio Divina 152

Richard Rohr, adapted from The Shape of God: Deepening the Mystery of the Trinity
Great science, which we once considered an “enemy” of religion, is now helping us see that we’re standing in the middle of awesome Mystery, and the only response before that Mystery is immense humility. Astrophysicists are much more comfortable with darkness, emptiness, non-explainability (dark matter, black holes), and living with hypotheses than most Christians I know. Who could have imagined this?

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Lectio Divina 151

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Sufism: The Transformation of the Heart. The Golden Sufi Center, 1995.

Meditation creates an inner structure of consciousness that enables us to operate at a higher frequency. Through years of disciplined meditation we attune our whole being to the higher frequencies of divine love so that this intoxicating energy can flow through us. Faster and faster flow the currents of love, faster and faster spins the heart. If we resist this energy we could be dangerously battered. If we were not centered we would be thrown off balance. The ego cannot provide the stability and center we need. It must be surrendered so that we can stand on the rock of the Self. Surrender allows us to spin with the dance of total devotion. But as we learn to lose our mind in the empty spaces of the beyond, we also need to be able to come back to our everyday world. The inner world with its intimacy and freedom from restraints is intoxicating, and it can make the outer world seem a cold, alien prison. We carry the consciousness that we are exiles in this world. But one must not allow states of meditation to interfere with everyday life and work. One needs to be able to focus on the outer world and function on the level of the mind whenever necessary. 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Lectio Divina 150

Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee, Sufism: The Transformation of the Heart. The Golden Sufi Center, 1995.

God calls us with the irresistible attraction of love, which we experience as longing. In order to fully hear God’s call we have to allow ourself to be dissatisfied and unfulfilled, rather than trying to fill this painful vacuum with another distraction. We have to allow the pain of longing into our life. Longing is both the pain that burns away the veils of separation and the thread that guides us deeper and deeper within, until we are able to enter the innermost chamber of the heart where God is waiting. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lectio Divina 149

Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times.  Shambhala, 2002.

Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing.  We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved.  They come together and they fall apart.  Then they come together again and fall apart again.  It’s just like that.  The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy…

Life is a good teacher and a good friend.  Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it.  Nothing ever sums itself up in the way we like to dream about it.  The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don’t get caught and we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit.  It’s a very tender, nonaggressive, open-ended state of affairs.

To stay with that shakiness – to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness and wanting to get revenge – that is the path of true awakening.  Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic – this is the spiritual path.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Lectio Divina 148

Saint Francis, quoted by Richard Rohr in an unpublished conference in Assisi, Italy in May, 2012.

Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Lectio Divina 147

Evening Gatha, from Zen Mountain Monastery Liturgy Manual.  Mount Tremper, NY: Dharma Communications, 1998, p.47.

Let me respectfully remind you,
life and death are of supreme importance.
Time swiftly passes by
and opportunity is lost.
Each of us should strive to awaken.
Awaken.  Take heed.
Do not squander your life.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lectio Divina One Hundred and Forty-Six

Martin Luther King, Jr., “Playboy Interview,” in A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr., ed. James M. Washington.  San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1991, p. 356.

It disturbed me when I first heard [myself described as an extremist.]  But when I began to consider the true meaning of the word, I decided that perhaps I would like to think of myself as an extremist – in the light of the spirit which made Jesus an extremist for love.  If it sounds as though I am comparing myself to the Savior, let me remind you that all who honor themselves with the claim of being “Christians” should compare themselves to Jesus.  Thus I consider myself an extremist for that brotherhood of man which Paul so nobly expressed: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Love is the only force on earth that can be dispensed or received in an extreme manner, without any qualifications, without any harm to the giver or receiver.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Lectio Divina One Hundred and Forty-Five

Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet. Stephen Mitchell, trans. New York: Vintage, 1986, p.88.

This is in the end the only kind of courage that is required of us: the courage to face the strangest, most unusual, most inexplicable experiences that can meet us. The fact that people have in this sense been cowardly has done infinite harm to life; the experiences that are called “apparitions,” the whole so-called “spirit world,” death, all these Things that are so closely related to us, have through our daily defensiveness been so entirely pushed out of life that the senses with which we might have been able to grasp them have atrophied. To say nothing of God. But the fear of the inexplicable has not only impoverished the reality of the individual; it has also narrowed the relationship between one human being and another, which has as it were been lifted out of the riverbed of infinite possibilities and set down in a fallow place on the bank, where nothing happens.