On that note, I'll leave you with Christopher Titus;
Mardi Gras and Ash Wednesday were spent on the ambulance, and I've been working on my pet project for this year's observance for several days now. I'm not giving anything up, and I haven't for several years now (unless my memory fails me) but I am going to be spending a bit of time working on my first hand written book of Psalms. So far I am in the 7th chapter.
One of my friends from years ago told me that lent is a terrible reason for a diet. She also had a few things to say about humility as well. That, and what a good lasagna should taste like. Since she and I talked, I think this conversation took place over Easter weekend 2006, I have spent my Lents getting sober and then getting married. Being married is far from a Lenten penance, but getting married, it is an exercise in patience, devotion and self-denial. Especially if you have my family. Incidentally, we were married on the Easter Vigil, a full 40 days of lent.
This year, I am doing something a bit different. I have no major vice to get rid of, though many minor vices still populate my confessions, and so, I'm trying something new and different...at least for me. This is probably going to take me longer than Lent to complete. My progress so far is uneven, and I don't see myself knocking out the 3 or 4 chapters a day that I would need to to finish by Easter, but I'm going to go until I finish... and then maybe start again. We'll see. In any event, I'll have a copy of the psalms to give to my wife, and a lent that was well lived (I hope).
Jenn and I have had a few Valentines Days together, or as I like to remind her, Sts Cyril & Methodius (the namesake of Methodism? I'd like to think so) feast days. Our first Valentines day, we went out to Longhorn and played with some puppies afterward. Our second one was a picnic dinner together, and this year we had Mediterranean and went to the Atlanta Ballet to see Brahm Stoker's Dracula, a book which Jenn wrote at least one paper on, and which had a story that I was very familiar with because I am a geek.
We had a great time. Jenn was beautiful, the food was great and the ballet was a great way to spend Valentines day...you know, in the throes of blood-lust and all.
I've never been a morning person. And I don't thing that I've become one, but I am starting to appreciate mornings alot more than I have in decades past. When I was a kid, I would wake up somewhere between the crack of noon and the early two o'clock hour to greet the brand new day. Left up to my own devices, I would be up all night and sleep all day.
It doesn't work out too well when you are a kid, but when you get older, it becomes easier to restructure your life around nights. I would get jobs where I could work the grave yard shifts--ERs, Ambulance services, a couple of bars--and I would fall into a natural rhythm.
Now I have a job that asks that I be at work at crazy times in the morning--5:00, 7:00, 8:00--and a son that gets up at 9:00 am, 7 days a week. In a month or two, I am going to have classes that have me in a desk first thing in the morning 2 days a week, and that means that my days of nights have come to an end.
But it is a happy end, because in the dark of the morning, in a routine of silence, pondering and stillness before a hectic day begins, I've found all of the things that I loved about nights. I've been able to find a place of solitude on my couch, where I can wait like sentinels for the dawn.
I bought the wood last night to make a coffin for Sammy, our family dog. Sam is a 14 year old basset hound who has been well loved for almost a decade and half again, several years longer than the average for his breed. He's been one of the few constants in our family for a long time.
In his lifetime, he was there when my father left, my brother joined the army, I went off to college, mom lost the house and got breast cancer. He and Lizzie, my sister have been on quite a ride together for the entirety of their lives. But Sam has grown far older than Lizzie, he can't handle stairs, falls over, can't control his bladder and is in constant pain. I've been praying that he will peacefully pass on his own, because I don't want to have to help him die.
I'm going to be working on a simple casket for him today. Ironically, one made from the same material that I would choose for my own. It will differ in style, but that is due mainly to my deficit in skill. Alot of prayer is going into this today. Hopefully it will be sturdy and well built for a friend who has been with us for half my life and the entirety of my sister's.
What does Lectio Divina mean?
The literal translation is "Divine Reading"
What is Lectio Divina, Really?
How about a way to Know God. Or, if you prefer Sacred Reading, the title of a book by Michael Casey OCSO on the subject. Another way to look at it is simply a prayerful reading of scripture.
What Lectio IS and IS NOT:
Lectio IS the prayer of the monk
Lectio IS meditative
Lectio IS to be changed through Sacred Reading
Lectio IS to be formed, NOT informed
Lectio IS NOT Bible Study
Lectio IS NOT concerned with theology
What are the four stages of Lectio?
1) Lectio- Very Slow Prayerful Reading. Example given: Think of a cow chewing on cud.
Writing of Scripture (Copying the Psalms into a notebook)
Read Slowly +UNTIL+ a word, or words, touches your HEART (not your head). Once this happens, STOP READING IMMEDIATELY. Go no further. Do not finish the sentence, the page the chapter. Stop.
"Listen with the ear of your heart"
2) Meditatio- Pondering, Reflecting, Asking "why"
"Why did God give me this word/these words?"
Reflection must be made personal and concrete, not conjectural and ideal based.
"I was impatient when _____", or "God gave me patience when ______" is better than "Patience is good and virtuous". Consider how--in concrete examples--it pertains to your life.
3) Oratio- Reply or Response to Meditatio (Stage 2)
Pray Directly and Personally. Be AUTHENTIC. No rote prayer. Don't hide behind Hail Marys and Lord's Prayers. If you know it, say it. God knows it already. He is just waiting for you to say it too. Say it. Don't leave it as implied, or say "God knows". Of course he does, you are the one with the need. You NEED to say IT.
Prayer should always lead to change, conversion, behavior modification. Change to be Christ-like.
4) Contemplatio- Being With God.
Don't forget this stage. Don't skip it.
Being with God without words or thoughts. Enjoying God's company and letting God enjoy yours. Characterized by comfortable silence.
Where should I begin?
Start with the Psalms, Move into the Gospels and Epistles. Before you finish with that, you will have probably finished this life and have moved on to the next.
How long should it take?
To start with, try 15 minutes a couple of times a day, morning and evening. If you can do more, then by all means, do more. As in any conversation, the actual time spent will depend on both paries involved. You can also take your Lectio with you throughout the day. Write down your words, and work the steps at different breaks in your day.
1) Grace Followed By Desire, Action and Knowledge.
2) Knowledge is usually gained through experience.
"Pray the Office for Two Years. If you are still confused, you may need some help"
3) Liturgy is an encounter with God in the context of :
4) Psalms as Prayer
Daily Prayer of Judaism
Daily Prayer of Christ
Daily Prayer of the Church
5) To be Prayed Both Communally and Individually
Both are really the same thing
6) Praying the psalms engages the senses, both Physical and Spiritual
7) Prayer is part of our responsibility as Baptized Christians
8) Praying the Hours is preparation, individual and communal, for the coming of Christ
9) The action of Prayer leads to the reception of the Divine
10) Authenticity is the key to maintaining conscious contact with God
11) Habitual Prayer leads to increased attentiveness to:
12) Sacred Space must be established for prayer
Within our Schedules
Within our Communities (Churches)
Within our Homes (Physical space)
Within our Families (implicit permission to pray freely)
13) Conclude with Silence and Reverence
14) Do the red, Say the Black