Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Climbing back into my prayer closet

¿Y cómo pueden ustedes creer, si se honran los unos de los otros, pero no buscan la honra que viene del Dios único? Juan 5,44

How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God? John 5:44

This question was addressed to the Scribes and Pharisees who were so enraptured with their religion, their polished-until-they-could-see-their-reflection worship and policies and positions that they did not even recognize the Word standing in front of them, the One Who was in the beginning, Who was with God and Who was God.

And the gentle rhythms of celebrated mass underscore that so often my so-called freedom of worship is if I feel comfortable, if I feel welcomed, if the teaching meets my needs, if I like the music set and the sound system, if I have my second cup of coffee, whom do I get to visit with, and whether the air conditioning is too much, not on or just right. And I am so bound up in this so-called freedom that I don’t even notice Him slipping in the back door, where two or three are gathered in His name.

In celebrated mass, all eyes are fixed on Him and His outstretched love. Not at all on me, not at all on the one another, kneeling in the dimly lit room.

And God has also used the gentle rhythms of The Fixed Hours, or the Lectio Divina in my life.
The first stage is lectio (reading) where we read the Word of God, slowly and reflectively so that it sinks into us. Any passage of Scripture can be used for this way of prayer but the passage should not be too long.

The second stage is meditatio (reflection) where we think about the text we have chosen and ruminate upon it so that we take from it what God wants to give us.

The third stage is oratio (response) where we leave our thinking aside and simply let our hearts speak to God. This response is inspired by our reflection on the Word of God.

The final stage of Lectio Divina is contemplatio (rest) where we let go not only of our own ideas, plans and meditations but also of our holy words and thoughts. We simply rest in the Word of God. We listen at the deepest level of our being to God who speaks within us with a still small voice. As we listen, we are gradually transformed from within. Obviously this transformation will have a profound effect on the way we actually live and the way we live is the test of the authenticity of our prayer. We must take what we read in the Word of God into our daily lives.

And what is not important is how once again, modern society has snapped on yet another form of the same chains of religion that have fettered man since the beginning of history, maybe even back to Cain and his unacceptable offering. Once again we shake our collective fist and ask, “Why have we fasted, and you see it not? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you take no knowledge of it?”

Let me be reminded that the final stage is letting go of my own ideas, plans and meditations, as well of my holy words and thoughts. Yep. My words and thoughts. Simply rest in the Word of God. And as I listen, I am gradually transformed from within, because He lives within.

How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?