With February we offer a new invitation for contemplation. We are continuing our monthly exploration of each theme of the Monk Manifesto. Our focus for this month is Community – Who is your tribe? The third principle reads:
I commit to cultivating community by finding kindred spirits along the path, soul friends with whom I can share my deepest longings, and mentors who can offer guidance and wisdom for the journey.
We invite you into a lectio divina practice below with some words from Thomas Merton. January 31st was his 100th birthday, so there are lots of celebrations honoring his legacy, and certainly for monks in the world he has a treasure of wisdom to offer:
The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution no to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
— Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island
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).
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 above. 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.
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 2800 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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“If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves then we do not love them.”
This provoked the image of dough being put into a mixer or machine, being squeezed and shaped into another desires. Instead of allowing dough to raise in it’s due time naturally with gentle loving guidance. Smelling it, savoring it’s beauty and movement, touching it gently along the way. Love nourishing it, allowing it to become what it will.
Beautiful, Pam. I find the people who are closest to me are the most difficult to let go. As you say…”due time naturally with gentle loving guidance.”
“the beginning of love…” Merton called to my young heart at age 20 and pointed to the monastic life as a place to live out the Love which had manifested and was drawing me… It has been 50 years since that journey began. So to find myself on the road towards the Hermitage which has been the fulfillment of my hermit journey on his 100th birthday was such a joy. He was instrumental in the Camaldolese monks coming to the United States as he searched for a place to live his own vocation of greater solitude. His desire brought fulfillment to others even though he did not see the realization himself. Gratitude overflows on this his 100th birthday.
What an experience that must’ve been, Rosemarie!
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