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Category: Monastic Spirituality


Lectio Divina Unleashed: Part Two (Poetry)

“People turn to poems for some kind of illumination, for revelations that help them to survive.” -Denise Levertov, “Poetry, Prophecy and Survival” Poetry is language illuminated.  When we read poetry we are reading the same words we use for prose, but because of the compactness of images and the poet’s way of pointing us deeper than what we expect to see, poetry has the potential to reveal the sacred to us in new ways.  Much of scripture is written in poetic form, making use of metaphor, rhythm, meter, sound, and image to help us grasp an awareness of God.  Praying

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Lectio Divina Unleashed: Part One

Lectio divina is an ancient prayer practice, meaning sacred reading.  It is a way of being with the sacred texts of our tradition in a contemplative way.  Lectio invites us to enter into silence and stillness to listen deeply for the stirring of the holy in scripture and in us.  Here is a simple overview of the process (modified and condensed from the introduction of our book): The Process of Lectio Divina Preparation Before beginning your time of lectio choose a scripture passage with which to pray.  There are many ways to do this.  I suggest in beginning a regular practice that you

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Telling the Truth

As a Benedictine Oblate I have made a commitment to live out monastic values and practices in my everyday life. Perhaps one of the most profound values for me is humility. Humility does not elicit much awe or admiration in our culture. It is a value that seems outdated in our world of self-empowerment and self-esteem boosting, negating much of the me-first values that our culture holds so dear. Some of the reservations about humility are legitimate, especially for women. Abuse of humility can encourage passivity, low self-worth, and be used as a tool of oppression, imparting fear, guilt, or

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Contemplative Living as Justice-Making

“The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence.”(Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, Thomas Merton) I first read this quote several years ago in, of all places, a Yoga Journal article on the practice of ahimsa, or nonviolence. It blew me away because I had never before even considered that the busyness

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Rule of Life

When I first began my doctoral studies in Christian spirituality I had no real fondness for monasticism, I didn’t really get it at the time.  Despite having always had a very contemplative nature, I did not understand how monastics make a difference in the world. It was while studying for my history exam that I started to think otherwise.  I first fell in love with Hildegard of Bingen.  How could I resist falling for a woman who was abbess, artist, musician, writer, poet, theologian, mystic, preacher, spiritual director, healer, and visionary (not necessarily in that order)?  Oh, and she challenged

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