LENTEN CONVERSION: HOW LOVELY IS YOUR DWELLING PLACE, O LORD OF HOSTS

Today in a few hours, the Lay Cistercian community of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit (Trappist) http://www.trappist.net, will meet for their monthly Zoom Gathering Day meeting. I would like to share with you some of my preparations for that meeting. In Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) I place myself in the presence of Christ and don’t ask for anything other than to be with him, the source of my being. This quiet confidence envelopes me in a blanket of peace where I can rest in the kingdom of heaven, without worries, although I have worries, without problems, although I most certainly struggle with my “thorns of the flesh” each day, all the while trying to place and keep God as my Center.

I recommend the homilies from the Monastery of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit (Trappist) for your Lenten devotion. I used the homilies of Dom Augustine (abbot), Fathers Gerard, and Peter Damien, as the bases for my preparation for today’s Gathering Day. I hope you will take this opportunity to listen to them (and in the future). Short. Poignant. Inspiring. http://www.trappist.net/homilies

LENTEN READING

Read this passage from Psalm 84 three times. Pray to the Holy Spirit to overshadow you with knowledge, love, and service. First time for the words; the second time, emphasize verse 2 and continue reading the rest of the Psalm with this verse as your focus; read it trying to feel the emotions of the Psalmist who pines for the courts of the Lord; the third time, read it very slowly, pausing after each stanza ends to think about what you just read.

One particular thought I share with you, one that I have not thought about often if never, I can’t remember. It is the phrase from Psalm 84, one which I pray in the Liturgy of the Hours. https://bible.usccb.org/bible/psalms/84

For the leader; “upon the gittith.” A psalm of the Korahites.

I

2 How lovely your dwelling,

O LORD of hosts!a 3 My soul yearns and pines

for the courts of the LORD.b

My heart and flesh cry out

for the living God. 4*As the sparrow finds a home

and the swallow a nest to settle her young,

My home is by your altars,

LORD of hosts, my king and my God! c 5 Blessed are those who dwell in your house!

They never cease to praise you.

Selah

II

6 Blessed the man who finds refuge in you,

in their hearts are pilgrim roads.7As they pass through the Baca valley,*

they find spring water to drink.

The early rain covers it with blessings. 8They will go from strength to strength*

and see the God of gods on Zion.

III

9 LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer;

listen, God of Jacob.

Selah 10*O God, watch over our shield;

look upon the face of your anointed.d

IV

11Better one day in your courts

than a thousand elsewhere.

Better the threshold of the house of my God

than a home in the tents of the wicked.12 For a sun and shield is the LORD God,

bestowing all grace and glory.

The LORD withholds no good thing

from those who walk without reproach.13 O LORD of hosts,

blessed the man who trusts in you!

* [Psalm 84] Israelites celebrated three pilgrimage feasts in Jerusalem annually. The Psalm expresses the sentiments of the pilgrims eager to enjoy the divine presence.

* [84:4] The desire of a restless bird for a secure home is an image of the desire of a pilgrim for the secure house of God, cf. Ps 42:23, where the image for the desire of the pilgrim is the thirst of the deer for water.

* [84:7] Baca valley: Hebrew obscure; probably a valley on the way to Jerusalem.

* [84:8] Strength to strength: pass through outer and inner wall.

* [84:10] Our shield…your anointed: the king had a role in the liturgical celebration. For the king as shield, cf. Ps 89:19.

a. [84:2Ps 43:34122:1.

b. [84:3Ps 42:2363:23143:6Is 26:9.

c. [84:4Ps 5:3.

d. [84:10Ps 89:19.

Which is more efficacious, to give up a Hersey’s chocolate bar (with almonds) for Lent or to nourish your inner self with the power of the Holy Spirit?

We are defined by our choices. The choice we must make is between something that is easy and what is right.

TYPES OF DWELLING PLACES WHERE I SEEK GOD EACH DAY

  • At the Eucharist
  • In the Sacrament of Reconciliation
  • At my Liturgy of the Hours
  • In my meditations as part of Lectio Divina
  • In the Blessed Sacrament Chapel for the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament
  • In my innermost self
  • While I read Chapter 4 of the Rule of St. Benedict each day in hopes that one day I become what I read.

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