HOW I DESIGNED A SYSTEM OF SPIRITUALITY TO SUSTAIN MY CONTEMPLATIVE PRACTICE
The following pages are samples of the horarium (hourly agenda) I use to organize my day as a Lay Cistercian. I must tell you that I am retired and have time to devote to the practice of how to love as Jesus did. Not everyone has the great opportunity I have, to pray the Liturgy of the Hours and Rosary in the parish. If I don’t keep it, no big deal, but it is an anchor. I off you an example of what I have used to design a system of spiituality for my particular needs. Being a Lay Cistercian, when looking at a way to practice contemplative spirituality, I am mindful of the following characteristics:
My Center: Have in you the mind of Christ Jesus. –Philippians 2:5
Five or Six Practices to support my center: These are Cistercian charisms and practices.
My spiritual goals for the rest of my life:
Spiritual Practices I use to sustain my center:
These practices are little nests I carve out of my routine, not because I
need the discipline but because they place me in direct contact with the
mind and heart of Christ.
Eucharist – The Sacrament of unity with God through Christ Jesus with the Holy Spirit as Advocate. This is the bread of Heaven. This is the pure energy of God for my transformation. This is my destiny in one prayer of gratitude with the community of believers.
Lectio Divina—This ancient, monastic practice allows me to growing deeper in spiritual awareness, there are four steps. Read (lectio); Meditate (meditatio); Pray (oratio); Contemplate (contemplatio).
Meditation and Spiritual Reading: This practice give me a time to focus on Scriptures, Spiritual Readings about how to grow deeper in Christ Jesus.
The Rosary: Meditations on the life and purpose of Christ Jesus One of my favorite practices is this mantra-like prayer to help me meditate on the highpoints in the life of Jesus.
Liturgy of the Hours: This practice, refined by St. Benedict in 580 AD in his Rule of St. Benedict, organizes the monks to pray the Psalms seven times a day. I pray the Psalms at least twice a day. The key is consistency and prayer in common, if possible. It is the prayer of the Catholic Church every hour of the day, every day of the week, giving praise, honor and glory to the Father through the Son in union with the Holy Spirit.
Eucharistic Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament: I believe that Jesus Christ is present, body and blood, soul and divinity, under the appearance of the bread. This is an ancient practice and one of the most revered of all practices. If this is indeed the living Christ, why would you not want to visit? This takes fierce love to practice.
Reading Chapter 4 or some part of the Rule of St. Benedict every day. By reading Chapter 4 each day, I hope to become what I read.
How I organize my daily practices:
Horarium: (This is the default schedule of my spiritual practice.)
4:00 a.m. Rise
4:10 a.m. Silent Prayer
Morning Offering and Dedication of the Day
Monday: In reparation for my sins and
those of the Church, those on my prayer
Tuesday: For all family, friends, teachers,
those on my prayer list
Wednesday: In honor of the Sacred Heart
of Jesus, Immaculate Heart of Mary, and
St. Joseph, those on my prayer list
Thursday: For all Lay Cistercians, Monks
of Holy Spirit Monastery, Monks of St.
Meinrad Archabbey, priests and religious
of Diocese of Evansville, Monks of
Norcia, Italy and those on my prayer list
Friday: For an increase in grace to love
God with all my heart, all my soul, all my
mind and my neighbor as myself.
Saturday: For all deceased, an increase in
my faith through the Holy Spirit and for
those on my prayer list.
Sunday: To give praise, honor and glory
to the Father through the Son my means
of the Holy Spirit, the God who is, was,
and is to come at the end of the ages
4:30 a.m. Liturgy of the Hours: Readings in private (optional)
5:00 a.m. Exercise (Monday through Friday)
6:30 a.m. Breakfast:
7:40 a.m. Liturgy of the Word at Good Shepherd
Morning Prayer in common
Rosary in common
9:00 a.m. Holy Mass: In common (Sunday at 8:00 a.m.)
1:00 a.m. Exercise at gym: (Monday through Sunday)
11: 15 a.m. Work: Writing, Blog, Special Projects
12:00 a.m. Watch Colin Cowherd on television FX1
2:00 p.m.Work: Writing, Blog, Special Projects
4:30-5:30 p.m. Adoration before Blessed Sacrament in common
Lectio Divina and Meditation in private
Liturgy of the Hours: Evening Prayer in common
5:30 p.m. Supper
6:00-8:00 p.m. Exercise, Work, Read.
8:00 p.m. Liturgy of the Hours: Night Prayer in private (optional)
8:30 p.m. Work: Continue writing, Blog, Special Projects
WHAT I HAVE NOTICED ABOUT MYSELF SINCE MAKING A SCHEDULE AND KEEPING IT
SUSTAINING CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRITUALITY: DESIGN YOUR CONTEMPLATIVE SPIRITUAL SUPPORT SYSTEM
This section will help you design your own Contemplative spiritual system. Use this template to create your default spiritual system. Fill in the blanks.These six questions with corresponding answers are the foundation of spirituality, but they are not spirituality itself. What follows is your application of what you have learned about Cistercian spirituality to how you will live out the rest of your life, no matter how long or short that may be.
SOME TIPS ABOUT MAKING THIS SCHEDULE
My spiritual goals for the rest of my life: (Don’t put anything
down that you do not intend to do.)
Write down the Contemplative spiritual practices you will use to
sustain your faith.
How I organize my practices (See examples above)
Themes for each day:
Write down one or two practices you will attempt every day.