LECTIO DIVINA: Approaching an awareness of God using a new technique

I must make a disclaimer for this blog. Usually, my interactions with the Holy Spirit have some connection with a life experience or something I read somewhere and maybe forgot. These ideas are entirely outside what I can remember from how long I have been conscious. They are not new ideas but are new to me.

My late sleep patterns are similar to what I might term “Whale” breathing, taking a gulp of air, and then going down into an adverse environment to live your life. Every two hours in this seemingly chaotic sleep, I come up for air and change locations (bed or my favorite chair) or use the bathroom. This has developed into a pattern of how I sleep for the past eight or nine years. Physiologically, some of this might be due to my diagnosis of severe sleep apnea. I awoke during one of these “gulps of air” and had this one word fixated into my consciousness, “awareness.” I tried wearing a mask on two occasions but do not tolerate it. All of this, I realize, is in my head, but it is the world in which I must exist. This is a pattern that I have developed for Lectio Divina of late. This Lectio Divina encounter with the Holy Spirit was different. I not only received the word “awareness” for my Lectio Divina meditation(Philippians 2:5) but also a new technique to try to delve deeper into the Mysteries of Faith (what it means to be fully human as intended by our nature). My most recent Lectio Divina was the word “awareness” and the technique. I will share with you what I have received.

THE MUSTARD SEED LECTIO DIVINA — I don’t know what to call it, but the results are from one tiny word comes a multitude of related ideas in random order.

My Lectio Divina meditations (sometimes up to fifteen a day of these short gulps of air) last anywhere from one to fifteen minutes (no set time).

I always begin my Lectio Divina sessions by repeating over and over Philippians 2:5, “Have in you the mind of Christ Jesus.” I wait for what comes as I recite it in silence and solitude.

I consciously go to the upper room (Matthew 6:5), my private room, then lock the door and wait. That’s right, just wait.

In my heart, I ask the Holy Spirit to fill my heart with Divine Love (Prayer of the Holy Spirit) and visualize myself sitting on a bench in the middle of winter, peering down the road waiting for Christ to sit down with me. I am amazed that I can do Lectio Divina in silence and solitude while waiting for a Cholecystectomy at the physician’s office. Silence and solitude have developed into something profoundly internal with the mind and in the heart. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cholecystectomy/about/pac-20384818

The Awareness of Christ

I will use steps to describe this technique, but, like the steps in Lectio Divina (lectio, meditatio, oratio, contemplatio, actio), I do them habitually without thinking, like driving a car.

STEP ONE: The Holy Spirit shares a word with me. (John 1:1) This time the word, which keeps persistently reoccurring in my mind, is “Awareness.” That is all I have to go on. That is the mustard seed I plant in the ground of my being, the Holy Spirit.

STEP TWO: (LECTIO) I repeat it repeatedly without any agenda or thoughts about what it might mean. I link this word to my center (Philippians 2:5) and wait. How long? As long as it takes. I resist the temptation to fill the holes of my unknowing with those thoughts that come from my mind and struggle to be open to the totality of all that is, the One who is.

I refer to this conscious struggle as a CONFRONTATIO (the martyrdom of the ordinary), the effects of original sin, which describes humans as having to work for their food (Genesis 2-3). To struggle while you pray is itself part of its value to God. Make no mistake; it is work, but it becomes a conscious habit with time.

STEP THREE: (MEDITATIO) In the silence and solitude of my heart, I listen with the ear of my heart as the Holy Spirit gives me one or two-word thoughts about “Awareness” as it pertains to “Have in you the mind of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5) Each of these ideas must be linked to my Lectio word and flows from it in any way. To show you what I mean, in the next segment, I will actually use these steps from my actual Lectio Divina on “Awareness.” I like to do “short bursts” of ideas that stem from the keyword, in this case, “Awareness.” I use these meditatio mosaics to build a picture for my contemplatio.

STEP FOUR: (ORATIO) My prayers in Lectio are almost always just a brief nod to the Holy Spirit to offer thanks for being counted worthy to be an adopted son (daughter) of the Father.

STEP FIVE: (CONTEMPLATIO) As of late, this stage of Lectio Divina has me ending up with no particular thoughts about “Awareness” and more just being aware that God is divine and I am an adopted son (daughter) sitting at the foot of Christ being content just to be in His presence. Waiting is a vital part of my contemplation, but one that I have sanctified by my linking all things to The Christ Principle.

STEP SIX: (ACTIO) An exciting observation as I do ACTIO after my Lectio Divine (usually by trying to write down what I can remember in my blog) is that my days of going out to the prisons and sharing my ideas with prisoners, or feeding the homeless at the local shelter, or even just having a strict routine of Liturgy of the Hours, has been significantly impacted by my aging in place. My monastic cell is my home. More and more, My monastery is the world of my creation. My Church Universal is my acceptance as God the Father’s adopted son (daughter). My ACTIO is becoming more and more the joy that results from being with the One you love and want to be with Forever, realized now, not later on in Heaven. I am finding that the difference between meditatio and contemplatio is that with mediatio, I consciously think of lists of items that come from my word or phrase. In contemplatio, I consciously don’t think of anything to say but instead wait for ideas to come into my mind. I must admit, this is a fine line, but one I am beginning to master. As you might have guessed from my choice of Lectio words, “Awareness” is integrally involved.

AWARENESS: The largess of Step Three

A product of my Lectio Divina (Philippians 2:5) is an awareness I did not have before.

Knowledge precedes Love, says St. Thomas Aquinas. If that is so, I not more intelligent as a result of placing myself in the presence of the Holy Spirit, but I am more aware.

Awareness is the wisdom of linking the OT with the fulfillment of the NT. Matthew 22:38.

Aware comes from the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit as I sit on the park bench in the dead of winter.

Awareness is my beginning to link all things new with each other.

Awareness is my reading of the Holy Scriptures (John 20:30-31) not to prove anything but to see how all things fit together.

Awareness is the appreciation that I need to fear the Lord (St. Benedict’s Rule, Chapter 7) and not forget that I am not God or manipulate God to my purpose.

Awareness is the gift that allows me to tell when the Devil is behind some temptations but not others.

Awareness is realizing that I am but a broken-down, old Lay Cistercian temple of the Holy Spirit.

Awareness is just waiting for God to arrive on a park bench in the middle of winter, only to realize that God is waiting for me to die so that I can show up correctly.

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