With October comes a new invitation for contemplation. This month I invite you into a lectio divina practice with a poem by Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai. Wisdom Council member Cheryl Macpherson (who co-facilitates our Way of the Monk, Path of the Artist class) suggested it, and I was delighted because it is one of my favorites. I think it expresses beautifully the monastic path of humility, the root of which is humus, meaning of the earth. During this autumn season (for our northern hemisphere folks) we are reminded of all that is earthy, of the cycle of life and death, of returning to the ground.
How Community Lectio Divina works:
Each month there will be a passage selected from scripture or poetry (and at some point we will engage in some visio and audio divina as well with art and music).
For the year I am choosing an overarching theme of discernment. I feel like the Abbey is in the midst of some wonderful transition, movement, and expansion.
How amazing it would be to discern together the movements of the Spirit at work in the hearts of monks around the world.
I invite you to set aside some time this week to pray with the text below. Here is a handout with a brief overview (feel free to reproduce this handout and share with others as long as you leave in the attribution at the bottom – thank you!)
Lean into silence, pray the text, listen to what shimmers, allow the images and memories to unfold, tend to the invitation, and then sit in stillness.
The Place Where We Are Right
From the place where we are right
Flowers will never grow
In the spring.
The place where we are right
Is hard and trampled
Like a yard.
But doubts and loves
Dig up the world
Like a mole, a plow.
And a whisper will be heard in the place
Where the ruined
House once stood.
—Yehuda Amichai (Translated from the original Hebrew)
After you have prayed with the text (and feel free to pray with it more than once – St. Ignatius wrote about the deep value of repetition in prayer, especially when something feels particularly rich) spend some time journaling what insights arise for you.
How is this text calling to your dancing monk heart in this moment of your life?
What does this text have to offer to your discernment journey of listening moment by moment to the invitation from the Holy?
What wisdom emerged that may be just for you, but may also be for the wider community?
Sharing Your Responses
Please share the fruits of your lectio divina practice in the comments below or at our Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks Facebook group which you can join here.
You might share the word or phrase that shimmered, the invitation that arose from your prayer, or artwork you created in response. There is something powerful about naming your experience in community and then seeing what threads are woven between all of our responses.
You can see the full fall calendar of invitations here>>
Join the Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks Facebook group here>>
These words spoke deeply into my ever so painfully broken and lingering marriage. Yet, the assurance of God’s whisper brings comfort and hope. I have also been revealed to the stubborn stances I am too guilty of.
I am not ready for the month to end. This has been a soothing poem for me in my state of grief and sadness. The love that we shared, the home that we built are no more, the plow is turning up my way. I listen for the whisper.
last week, sitting with “from the place where we are right…”, what came was “what if there is no ‘one right way'” ~ what if there are moments of “what is right for this one/this path just now”
what opened today was “what if i know nothing?” ~ what if i release any assumptions about the way i “should” be in this world ~ what if i simply don’t know ~ what if i open to being called “against all odds” ~ to step up, step out ~ since i “don’t know” what this would look like, what if i simply open my heart and listen within to these whisperings…
“and a whisper will be heard…”
a poem emerged; i will put it on the poetry party page ~ with gratitude ~
Liberation theology. God is at work for the poor, marginalized, afflicted, oppressed, broken in some sense. Struggling, churched up, not firm or normalized or set in a way. God is working in the margins, expanding our ideas of love and co-creativity…God is whispering new creation!!!
Out beyond my control,
along wild roughened edges
where my sense of right
does not always have its way,
is where the Digger, softens earth
for Spirit’s fertile ways.
My non-verbal response to accompany these words is a new photo-video page on my Well-Fed Spirit Website: http://wellfedspirit.org/photo-sets/spirit_in_place.html
And a whisper will be heard in the place
where the ruined
house once stood
Heretofore, I was drawn to the hard and trampled yard. Today, my mind lingered on the whisper. Perhaps the process of staying with the lectio has moved me from the stuck and hard spots to the invitation to heal.