This topic is near and dear to me because it is me and my attempts to die to self to move from false self to God.
This is the Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) I had this morning at 7:15 EDT at Cardiology Associates on the third floor in Tallahassee, Florida. I drove to an early check-in for a Nuclear Stress Test for my heart. I am having Gall Bladder surgery this month, and I needed clearance from my Cardiologists (my regular Cardiologist and by ElectroCardiologist). To the point, I am sitting in the waiting room, and with me are six people, all elderly, one lady, and five gentlemen. All of them were using their cell phones to pass the time, filling them with music or whatever. I noticed this because I focused on Lectio Divina instead (I do not own a cell phone, probably because it is too complex for my mental processes). I only offer these thoughts because there are what happened to me over the past several months.
WHAT IS A LAY CISTERCIAN?
You can tell a Lay Cistercian because they are the ones with a smile on their face, focusing on Lectio Divina (Phillipians 2:5), eyes lowered to the ground, sitting straight in the chair, for thirty or more minutes without moving. Everyone else may or may not have a smile on their face but is looking at their cell phone to pass the time.
Father Anthony Delisi, O.C.S.O., God rest his soul, told a group of us that the first requirement you need to be a Lay Cistercian is recognizing you are a sinner and want to become better.
A Lay Cistercian, like those in the AA program, knows that it is in the context of community that silence, solitude, work, and prayer.
Monks, nuns, and Lay Cistercians seek to retire to that place where no human wants to look, the room described in Matthew 6:6, where the doors are locked from the inside, and we have two chairs, one for Christ and one for us. Ironically, we join others in their individual rooms and practice Cistercian practices and charisms to help us move from our false self to our true self in Christ Jesus. Community keeps us balanced and from falling off the deep end into radicalism.
A Lay Cistercian knows that prayer is a process of conversion and that they must begin each day as though it was the only day for the rest of their life.
A Lay Cistercian seeks God each day as it comes.
A Lay Cistercian cherishes reading from the Benedictine and Cistercian men and women who share their struggles and successes with us.
A Lay Cistercian keep their eyes lowered (custos oculi) when praying and doing Lectio Meditation.
A Lay Cistercian practices simplicity in prayer by praying The Liturgy of the Hours and Eucharist together with the community as they can.
A Lay Cistercian can sit facing someone who yells at you that you are worthless, God doesn’t love you, being a Lay Cistercian is a waste of your time, that you like in la-la land and not in reality, that you must not meet with your Lay Cistercian group because all you want is attention from the widows and because you write a blog, that no one reads your ideas because you are no good, but they won’t tell you so. On that day, Lay Cistercian, rejoice, and keep repeating in your heart, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they say.” Peace conquers hatred, but you must put love where there is no love to love others as Christ loved us.”
A Lay Cistercian fills any lack of time (waiting in line at the doctor’s office, waiting to get help from local government for a tax problem, or the time before the Blessed Sacrament) by just waiting for the Holy Spirit to visit that inner room and overshadow you with the warm embrace of the way, what is true, and the life or energy of Christ.
A Lay Cistercian, after a period of years practicing how to love Christ, can just sit there and focus the mind on pure energy, letting it “be done to you, according to His Word.”
What questions should you be asking yourself?