In keeping with my daily theme of digging deeper into reality using Lay Cistercian practices and charisms, I noticed that there are levels of habits available to me, depending on how deep I go in my capacitas dei and conversio morae (growing more in Christ and gradually moving from false self to true self).

Level One: Silence, Solitude, Prayer, Work, and Community

Level Two: Stillness, Humility, Obedience, Daily Seeking God, Lectio Divina

Level Three: Here are some habits I need to reinforce my Level One and Two Habits. I discovered or maybe uncovered them in my Lectio as I keep seeking to grow deeper in my vertical prayer each day. They are in no order of priority.

Anticipation— I have been trying to allow my mind to be in my upper room alone with Christ. I find that my feeling is for anticipation, even if I know that what I anticipate is unclear or if can master my false self enough to be open to the possibility of all thoughts, feelings, and being with the person who is my center, The Christ Principle. In Christ’s School of Love, as defined by St. Benedict, among others, longing for the courts of the Lord is a habit not for the faint of Faith. It comes only after practice over and over, much like the love of a husband for a wife or children watching for their Dad to come home from school, walking at a distance but getting closer every minute.

Perseverance-– Each Lay Cistercian and I guess all monks and nuns experience the boredom of the ordinary, which I call the martyrdom of the Ordinary. Doing practices over and over each day, there is the temptation to think that the value is taking time to do, for example, Lectio Divina, or Liturgy of the Hours at a certain time. The habit of perseverance means those feelings of worthlessness or futility of praying must be met with the realization that all of it is our giving up to the Father’s love, respect, glory, and honor through, with, and in Christ, using the energy of the Holy Spirit. This confrontation of original sin means I take up my cross (doing the psychopathology of the normal) each day, not without thinking about it, but rather realizing that this struggle is what Christ experienced in the Garden of Gethsemani.

Fear of the Lord — St. Benedict wisely put “fear of the Lord” as the first step his monks should confront in putting on the cloak of humility overall they do. My sense of what this means is to sit next to Christ on a park bench in the middle of winter and try to abandon all my distractions so that I can listen to Christ. Christ is not only human but also God. Humility is a great habit that allows me to accept my adoption by the Father as an heir to the kingdom of heaven. In Lectio Divina, I try to use meditation on a Lectio (have in you the mind of Christ Jesus –Philippians 2:5-12) where I ask Jesus to help me grow deeper. Contemplation is when Christ speaks to me in my mind, and heart, and I must listen with “the ear of the heart.” I need to be aware of who God is. As my saying goes: I am not you; you are not me; God is not me; and I, most certainly, am not God.

Not worrying about Heaven — Heaven is now. Each day is an eternity. Each day is sufficient unto itself. I don’t worry about going to Heaven. Jesus told us not to worry about what we are to eat, what to wear, and, I might add, what Heaven after we die is like. Jesus Ascended into Heaven to prepare a place for all those with adoption, so we could be happy with Him forever. This is not a physical world, like Mars or another planet, but a containment field (an imperfect image) where I can fulfill my humanity by growing in consciousness, knowledge, love, and service (the image and likeness of God). Christ is Assumed, body and blood, soul and divinity, as is Mary, his mother, assumed through the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit (once again) body and blood in her human nature only. This is our destiny. I am unclear about what it looks like, but I want to go there because Christ is there.

Linking with the Golden Thread –– Community is important for those gathered together as Church Universal. Each human who ever lived contains the sum total of what they have learned about life. Some say it ends at death; some say it never ends. I have the power to link all those experiences, which I think help me become more human and fulfill my destiny as defined by my nature. This Golden Thread is Christ who gives me the task of creating my heaven (or hell) on earth using the tread which links all things together in wisdom and truth. What I like together, I can take with me to heaven.

It takes work to sustain my Faith, and these are some habits on which I rely for help.


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