With October we offer a new invitation for contemplation. Our focus for this month is letting go. In the northern hemisphere it is the season of fall when nature begins to release what is not necessary. What are you called to shed in your own spiritual garden?
I invite you into a lectio divina practice with some words from the Gospel of Luke.
How Community Lectio Divina works:
Each month there will be a passage selected from scripture, poetry, or other sacred texts (and occasionallyvisio and audio divina as well with art and music).
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.
When Jesus heard this he said to him, ‘There is still one thing left for you: sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor, and you will have a treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.’ But when he heard this he became quite sad, for he was very rich.
— Luke 18:22-23
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 2200 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.
Join the Holy Disorder of Dancing Monks Facebook group here>>
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I think this isn’t about my home or my belongings. I think this is about my treasures of ego, my sense of being extra special, my need to excel. I’m to release that, and just live among the “rest us”, recognizing my poverty of wisdom, of resilience, of singular knowledge or talent. Part of the process of leaning on God and receiving rather than mustering what I need. Part of learning community, “we”.
Greetings all…..in this ‘fall’ autumnal time of year I find myself wondering what I need to let go of in my life! A biologist friend of my informed me that leaves don’t ‘fall’ from the tree but are ‘pushed’ off…. This has changed my frame of reference and wondering not only am a ‘being let go of’….but toward what am I being pushed! But, love the story in its many dimensions and possibilities – and looking forward to what might be changing in my life. Thank you all for your comments!
Pictures later – Just starting a retreat day with Ilio Delia on Christ in Evolution….lots changing in my processing of this concept!
The words “one thing” and “come, follow me” stood out as I contemplated this passage. At first I asked myself what I needed to let go in order to follow Him more fully and wondered if there was a particular thing I was holding back. I asked if I was too important to me or if I was selfish.
I was really surprised at the answer that came. I realized that I needed to take better care of myself; not because I am more important than others but because I have been bought with the blood of Jesus and my body is a temple of the Holy Spirit.
That puts a different light on the reasons why I should eat healthy food, exercise, meditate on Scripture, get rid of clutter, have set times of prayer each day, and give to others as I am able. I kept telling myself I needed to do all those things, but I lacked motivation. My reasons were something like “because I need to” or “it’s the right thing to do.
Instead, I need to do what I can to provide the nourishment I need -body, soul, and spirit – in order to be better able to demonstrate Christ to others. I need to rid myself of every kind of weight that keeps me from fulfilling my purpose. My purpose also includes pursuing my dreams, because I believe they are also from God, and can help me encourage others.
Jesus lived simply in terms of material possessions. He didn’t own a house or have stuff that occupied His time and focus. All His thoughts and energies were focused on doing God’s will. This passage invites me to ponder: How much of my time and energies are focused on taking care of my possessions? Is taking care of material objects how I want to spend my time? Do I draw status and/or security from what I own? Can I walk away from all my possessions to follow Jesus and live as a poor person with minimal possessions? Am I just like the rich young ruler and walk away from Jesus in sadness because He’s asked for too much?
“‘treasure in heaven…then come follow me” Today at the 4th Peace talk by Mary Robinson at the Tutu Foundation and Archbishop Tutu’s 83rd birthday celebration, I understood why Christine nested in Galway… Arch told the joke about Eve who asked why HE was always first… and SHE responded … as GODDESS…
I always chided my twin about my being first born… a few minutes before midnight and he 10 minutes later… but he has beat me to heaven…reborn first! I am still feeling I am missing a limb…but a few days ago heard someone encouraging us to lie down at night and let go of the physical body and become the Light Body… so leaving
all… we can find our treasure in heaven…
Something about this particular reading caused me to I interpret “all that you have” more broadly than I have in the past—not limiting it to finances, but to all the emotional, spiritual, and material “wealth” that I have. I felt challenged to surrender all that I have and distribute it to those who are “poor” in areas other than finances. I felt like I have benefited and gotten “rich” off of the work of others’ teaching, writing, speaking, and creativity; but I’ve been too focused on hoarding that treasure for myself rather than freely giving it away in my own creative and particular way.
This text is calling me to examine my heart for those areas of excess so that I can freely give from them.
I feel invigorated to being more vigilant about my daily practices of examen, silence, and reflection in order to remain attentive to those areas of riches (and poverty) in my life.
To the community, I would encourage us all to consider what areas of our lives in which we feel rich and consider how we might share that wealth with those around us. Are you rich in familial love? Perhaps you could invite someone who is experiencing dissonance and discord in their family into your home to share a meal. Are you rich in inspiration? Perhaps you could connect with a friend who is feeling stuck in life and spend some time asking them questions and inviting them to share their hopes, dreams, and ideas for their life.
This passage began to raise a question in my mind several years ago-
This is my concern……….it is generally interpreted that the young man walks away and REMAINS dismayed because he had so many riches- I have wondered aloud and to anyone who would lend an ear, that perhaps if he walked away dismayed because he simply was needing time to take it all in and contemplate where life could take him without clinging to his riches- Who is to say that he did not return at some point with glee proclaiming “I get it”…… I will leave all my treasures behind in search of the True Treasure- I believe he just needed to take some space to think about what was said-
THAT being said
I now believe I need to take some space to ponder just this- Because I am being asked the very same thing now in my own life!!!!
thanks for sharing everyone-
Pray for Peace in our world and for a spark of hope for all those who are suffering because of ANY war right now on our planet-
This reading creates so much resistance for me. “rich” I am. I have everything I need and much, much more. Do I take Jesus response literally (gulp) or try to hold lightly what I have and not obsess on accumulating more? I came to this sharing page in hopes of reading some others’ wise responses. I’ll check back soon…….
Sell all that you have and distribute it to the poor.
I just returned from a stunning retreat with Christine and Kayce. The clear message for me there was to clarify and simplify my life. In this Lectio divina passage I Receive. Blessings to all. the same message. Thank you. I feel empowered to carry through.
This is such a powerful text to ponder. Giving away or selling everything means I do not hold on to any material objects and trust Jesus to provide for my needs, food, shelter, clothing, as well as my growing understanding of what is important in my life. This passage invites me to let go of all that is unnecessary and to receive what is important.
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