In my quest to seek God daily wherever I am and however I am, my Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) jangled my roots with the thought that I m sometimes caught up with the externals of Cistercian practices and charisms (making sure that I pray at a certain time without failure) rather than just seeking God and these practices help put me in the presence of Christ. Here are three sources of inspiration for me.
THE HOLY SPIRIT AS ADVOCATE
I am, more and more letting the Holy Spirit be the source of inspiration for all my actions. You would think I would have learned this lesson long ago until waiting until I turned 80 years of age. I admit to being a slow learner and also a slow lover of Christ with all my mind, my heart, my strength and my neighbor as myself. I now know, more so than even last year, that all I have to do is put myself in the occasion of God’s energy and then just wait. The energy of God created the universe that has no beginning and no end. It is the same energy that I try to harness simply by being in the presence of my two advocates (Christ and the Holy Spirit) and just wait. That is difficult for me as a human being to do because I always think being productive means filling in the gaps of activity with some other activity, anything to fill up that hole in my routine. It is my default behavior and I find that I must make a conscious effort to allow the Holy Spirit to overshadow me. Learning to listen to the silence of God has been one of my most challenging but rewarding sources of inspiration. I have to tell you that trying to listen to the Holy Spirit is not without challenge. More and more, the Holy Spirit is flooding my mind and my heart with so many ideas (this blog is one of them) that I can’t keep up with the sheer volume. All I can do is try to write down some of these ideas. Scriptures tell us that no one can say Jesus is Lord without the Holy Spirit. What joy there is in just being in the presence of such love.
THE SACRED SCRIPTURES
The scriptures are sacred because they contain the inspired word of God. Nothing God touches (and He touches everything) is the same because the energy of God always produces grace, the pure love and energy of God. Anyone who reads Scriptures receives this inspiration from just reading the word. I like to think of this as five different levels of spiritual awareness of what is telling us through his Word.
My inspiration from Scriptures takes the form of allowing the living Word of God to penetrate my spirit to be able to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in the words. St. John says, in John 20:30-31, that the Scriptures were written “Conclusion.*30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of [his] disciples that are not written in this book.s31But these are written that you may [come to] believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.t” https://bible.usccb.org/bible/john/20
When life becomes a roller coaster, as it usually is with all the ups and down of being a human who lives in a World with Original Sin, I take up the Scriptures daily and read my core passage, the center of my life, Philippians 2:5. In my tiny world of reality, this is the Christ Principle, from him, with him, and in him, all glory and honor is given to the Father with the Holy Spirit.
THE HOLY SPIRIT PRESENT THROUGH OTHERS
If my inspiration for being a Lay Cistercian comes from my listening to the Holy Spirit in my heart, it stands to reason that, if I am aware of the Holy Spirit in others, that is another source of God ‘s energy. If I am an acorn on the tree of Christ (I know, I am a nut), there are other acorns and leaves on that tree besides myself. Awareness of the community of Faith can often go unrecognized and thus not a source of God’s energy. I am not the roots or trunk of this tree, that is Christ. The Holy Spirit gives the energy for the tree (Christ is the vine and we are the branches) to bear fruit (in this case nuts). If I live as a nut, then I am born, I grow, I die, and then spring to new life as another tree, if I am planted in proper soil and conditions.
To draw a parallel, as a Lay Cistercian, I am not a solitary member, cut off from the whole. The community of believers is an important component of being Cistercian. Equally important is the awareness of the Holy Spirit in others. If I approach the Sacred with silence, solitude, work, prayer, I also count on the community as a source of the Holy Spirit. Being present to other Lay Cistercians, or others in my other faith communities is a source of God’s energy for me if I am aware. This awareness is a tiny peek at what heaven will be like when we meet all those who have died in the peace of Christ and share all things in, with, and through Christ to the glory and praise of the Father through the Holy Spirit.