THE HABIT OF CONTEMPLATIVE PRACTICE
In my practice of trying to have Christ Jesus’s mind each day (Philippians 1:5), I have noticed that I do best when I establish some sort of habit or schedule to help me focus. I don’t want to fall into the trap of establishing the schedule, and then that schedule becomes the purpose for my seeking to be in the presence of Christ through contemplative practices. On the other hand, I want to remember to do certain practices, daily, weekly, monthly, or once a year, because it puts me next to the heart of Christ. Here are some of the habits I try to do to seek God each day. Some days are better than others.
- Begin my daily with the Morning Offering while sitting on the bed before my toes hit the floor.
- Realize that each day is a lifetime, or maybe my last.
- Dedicate each day to a different purpose and ways to seek God that day.
- Pray for individuals who have died and ask for God’s mercy and for them to pray for me as they kneel before the Throne of the Lamb.
- Ask for God’s mercy on me for my past sins of neglect and just being insensitive to the needs of others (not loving others as Christ has loved me).
- Lectio Divina three or four times per day (sometimes mini-Lectio and sometimes one or two hours uninterrupted) around my center, Philippians 2:5.
- Sometime, each day, write blogs such as the one you are reading to share it with my daughter and those who care to read the mutterings of a wobbly, broken-down, old Lay Cistercian.
- Reading Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, as I can, each day on http://www.divineoffice.org.
- Read Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict, all, or in some part, each day.
- Read Scriptures at least once a day for just a minute or more. You do what you love to do. In this case, it is where I am present to Christ, but also Christ is present to me in a special way.
- Be aware that I must become what I read, do, and love.
AT LEAST WEEKLY
- Read something from Cistercian authors and reflect on how it fits into my view of what is real.
- Renew my dedication to my center: Philippians 2:5.
AT LEAST MONTHLY
- Awareness of my need for God’s mercy each day and to connect to the Church Universal by going to chapel (COVID 19 protocols observed) in silence and solitude and sit in wonder by listening with the ear of the heart.
AT LEAST YEARLY
- Renew my Lay Cistercian Promises, my marriage promises, and commitments to love God with all my heart, with all my mind, and with all my strength, and my neighbor as myself.
The struggle of Contemplative Practice is one of my awareness that I am a pilgrim living in a foreign land. My destiny is the kingdom of heaven, and all I do is be aware that it begins now, each day with what I know, what I love, and how I do what Christ told me to do.