One lesson that I have begun to be aware of as a direct result of Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) is my prayers, even my routine life chores have been noticeably slowing down. Awareness of these little hints at growth is all that I have to tell me that I am growing in Christ and becoming less of myself. The paradox of losing self to gain Christ seems to go against my fixation on trying to be as human as I can possibly be. Yet, The Christ Principle is the key to making all things new, especially my new self each day.

A direct result of slowing down is peacefulness. I find that I am able to ride over the rough terrain of rocky relationships with more composure, rather than reacting when anyone puts me down and tells me that I am a loser and that my Lay Cistercian efforts are living in La-La Land. It is as though I am having to paddle upstream against the waters of original sin and the effects of having to choose what I think is good when it is actually bad for me. My humanity contains what is most noble of our species and yet there is a thin line separating me from my animal past (way back there).

If we look at that classic archetypal story of what it means to be human and why we choose what we think is good or bad for us, Genesis 2-3, what jumps out at me each time is how humans don’t seem to get what is in front of their face. When I slow down and read this passage, I get more of a flavor of what the authors are trying to communicate. Sin came into the world through one man, St. Paul states in Romans 5. Sin here is one archetypal act that affected all those who came after (humans not animals). Why people act so erratically is up to many factors, but essentially it comes down to what people place at their center. Looking around me at what is going on (each age has troubles of its own), I see no one taking time to reflect on the implications and consequences of their bad choices.

  • To slow down is to seek refuge in God for all the turmoil in my life.
  • To slow down is to refocus each day on what is important.
  • To slow down is to remember, human, you are dust, and into dust, you shall return.
  • To slow down is to be aware that we must place our hope in God alone (St. Benedict, Chapter 4 of the Rule).
  • To slow down is to relish and yearn for the time you share with Christ as the Holy Spirit overshadows you with as much pure energy as you can absorb (Mary absorbed as much as a human could possibly contain).
  • To slow down means “…to have in your the mind of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)
  • To slow down means, you are aware that you are an adopted son or daughter of the Father and that your destiny as a human being is not this earth but to be with Christ…forever.
  • To slow down means your center requires constant nourishment (Eucharist) and repair (Reconciliation), which can only be fed by abandoning your will to that of God (without losing the integrity of what it means to be human, of course).
  • To slow down means, you realize that giving away your choice of what is good or bad for you to resonate with God means that you gain what it means to be human without losing your freedom to choose.
  • To slow down means, you take time to refocus on the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit in you and try to expel the seven deadly sins (conversio morae).
  • To slow down means, you use contemplative practices and charisms of Cistercian spirituality if you are a Lay Cistercian, and do it over and over (the martyrdom of ordinary living).
  • To slow down means, you sit on the edge of your bed each morning and re-new your Baptismal commitment to try to see Jesus in whatever comes your way (seeking God).
  • To slow down means you begin to realize the significance of that cross that you have traced on your forehead at Baptism, in the Eucharist, in Reconciliation, at Confirmation, at Matrimony, at Holy Orders when your hands are signed with the cross using Sacred Chrism, at your last dying breath, when the priest makes the sign of the cross on your forehead, your heart, your hands. Slowing down means speeding up your awareness of Christ living in your now, each day until you die.


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