LECTIO DIVINA: DON’T KICK THE HABIT

One of the greatest lessons I have learned from being a Lay Cistercian is the value of consistency. Doing something over and over might seem boring to some, but to those seeking transformation, it is the practice of seeking God where you are.

In one of my Lectio Divina meditations (Phil 2:5), I thought of how I had been doing this same eight words for Lectio since I was twenty-three years of age. Granted, I did not always do it every day or even with the passion that leads to Contemplation, but the general realization was there that I had to do this every day, even if I had dry spells of practice.

It was not until I became aware of Lay Cistercians that I actually interiorized what I had intellectualized all these years (moving from just the mind to the heart and mind). It became as important for me to do prayer daily (not only Lectio, but also Eucharist, Reading Chapter 4 of the Rule each day, Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, reading Scripture and other Cistercian authors). It is the desire to pray from the heart that is, in itself, a prayer.

PRAYER IS UNCONDITIONAL LOVE 

Unconditional love is one of those wonderful experiences that you might feel or be the recipient of, sometime in your lifetime.  Consider yourself lucky.  Christ’s love for us is unconditional, that is, it is not limited by Original Sin, or limited by His nature (both divine and human). It is 100%.  My love is conditional, at least until I reach Heaven.

In terms of prayer, love is totally tied to our emotions, feelings, moods, anxieties, and subject to the temptations to do anything other than pray every day. This is why I like Lay Cistercian practices of encouraging us to pray daily, taking up our cross daily, seeking God each day where we find Him, praying as you can, preferring nothing to the love of Christ. Daily.  Difficult? I am not there yet because I have so many competing Worldly temptations to be somewhere else, that prayer is a waste of time, that love is a waste of time, that being a Lay Cistercian who tries daily to have in them the mind of Christ Jesus is complete fantasy.  It is the time you waste in prayer that makes it unconditional.  It is the time you take with the one you love that makes it so valuable, says the fox to the Little Prince. Read this exerpt from The Little Prince.

“And he went back to meet the fox.

“Goodbye,” he said.

“Goodbye,” said the fox. “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

“What is essential is invisible to the eye,” the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”

“It is the time I have wasted for my rose–” said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.

“Men have forgotten this truth,” said the fox. “But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose.” http://www.angelfire.com/hi/littleprince/framechapter21.html (Highlights are mine)

  • It is the sacrifice of time to be silent and in solitude that makes prayer the product of love.
  • It is being present day after day, especially when there are temptations to be somewhere else, do something more meaningful, or meet other people.
  • Taking time each day to pray as I can, pray, not with multiple recitations of prayers, but to be in the presence of the one I love, unconditionally, with no agenda, with no words of what I want from God, with just the joy of sitting on a park bench in the dead of Winter and waiting for Christ to come by, that is love.
  • If you pray daily and carve out time for Christ, daily reciting Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict, you hope that in being present to Christ with all your heart, all your mind, all your strength, He will be present to you.
  • Once you taste the goodness of the Lord, you will be happy to take refuge in Him. You will never be the same. You will sell all you have (the World) to be with the one you love.
  • You will inherit the treasures stored up for you in Heaven.
  • Habits are meant to help us focus on what is uncomfortable and distasteful. Habits help us overcome the tempations of the World in order to seek God rather than our own whims and fantasies about what is important.

Praise be God the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is, who was, and who is to come at the end of the Ages. Amen and Amen. –Cistercian doxology

 

 

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