With March comes a new invitation for contemplation. As Lent begins this month (on March 5th – join our online retreat here.) I invite you into a lectio divina practice with words from the first reading for Ash Wednesday from the prophet Joel.
How Community Lectio Divina works:
Each month there will be a passage selected from scripture, poetry, or other sacred texts (and occasionally 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.
Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.. —Joel 2:12-13
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 (at the bottom of the page) or at our Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks Facebook group which you can join here. There are over 1300 members and it is a wonderful place to find connection and community with others on this path.
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 winter/spring 2014 calendar of invitations here>>
Join the Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks Facebook group here>>
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Crow Caw Swish Silence
Twice last week, the Lord called me to return deeply to Him, and now you have given us this text, where He again call to me, so what shimmers is ‘even now’ says the Lord ‘return to me with your whole heart’. In the Bible it talks of needing a witness of three to affirm something and tonight I see that my witness off three is .Father, Son and Spirit – there is nothing more that I could have asked, although in fact I obeyed the first time that He spoke. Maybe like Peter, the Lord wants me to reply three times to show the depth of my love and repentance, and so threefold I obey my Beloved Lord – I love you with the ancient Hebrews, Lord,with heart and mind and soul.Amen.
I was struck by a seeming contradiction. Return with your WHOLE heart. But then REND your heart. Hmmmm…. I will have to ponder on that longer….
I have been on a journey that is quite simple, but my fleshly mind is so overtaken by worldly thoughts. an ignation practice of contemplation and meditation that I have recently been so overwhelmed with is gazing at God gazing at me. profound,but yet so mixed. my dancing spirit wants to really groove with this. I find myself getting so distracted by rummaging thoughts. a part of this is because my wife and are moving to another state in about 3 weeks, but I feel as if I don’t keep practicing my spiritual life my physical life may suffer. anyway, I don’t know if this has been encouraging to anyone or not–God be with you on your journey. br. jeffrey
“Rend your hearts, not your garments” stands out for me today. The outward show of piety is meaningless; what matters is what is in our hearts. By our weeping and mourning, we open our hearts to others. Grief is the price we pay for loving, and God is in the loving as God is with us in our grief when we allow ourselves to weep and mourn. We need to do that, so we can grow true compassion — “feeling with” others, to let God work through us. If we deny our own pain, we end up denying others’ pain as well. I am learning this the hard way, but I guess there is no easy way.
“Even now.” This phrase wants to pull me into the presence of God. Thank you. I am frightened and joyful. Now I must ‘sit.’
I was struck by the word “rend”. As some of the other comments said, my heart has already been broken in an extended period of mourning. It feels like it’s been rent for me, and the initial images that came with that were violent and left me trembling.
As I meditated a bit more I realized I felt victimized and had unresolved anger at those who caused my grief (God and others). I now know I need to open myself to forgiveness to experience healing. Perhaps rending my heart means really opening it to let God heal and cleanse it. This time the image was of a medical procedure to open a wound, letting infection out so it can heal.
I was also struck by one of the earlier comments that mentioned fasting from pain and hurt. I recognized myself in that and the need to be willing to go through the pain to get back to being fully myself (Wholehearted).
“Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart”…..this text is calling to me by singing Hosea over and over in my heart, and has been a personal ministry song for me for a long time. In fact, I want it played at my funeral memorial whenever that is. But IN THIS MOMENT, it is calling me by taking and making the daily time and space to honor my twenty five years plus of journals and 60 years of photographs albums, to reassemble and follow the thread of God’s guidance all thru my life and to manifest that in written and imagery projects as “the next right thing” to do in my life.
“Don’t let fear keep us apart. Trees do bend though straight and tall, so must we to others call…”