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Lectio Divina Reading

January 4, 2004

John Cassian, Conference 10

(1 Thes 5:17) "Pray without ceasing."

Germanus: "But we must ask you to explain our last point. How can we firmly hold on to this verse which you have given us as a formula? How can we keep it in such a way that, by God’s grace, we are freed from the follies of earthly thoughts and are enabled to keep spiritual ideas unshakably within us?"

Isaac: "Three things keep a wandering mind in place: vigils, meditation, and prayer. Constant attention to them and a firm concentration upon them will give stability to the soul. But such stability cannot be obtained except by a continuous effort made not for the sake of ambitiousness but because of the requirements of the present way of life. This is the way to break out of the worries and the cares of the present life and to make possible for us the realization of the apostolic injunction "Pray without ceasing." (1 Thes 5:17)

"The one accustomed to prayer only when he bends the knee prays very little. The one who on bended knee gives himself over to distraction is not praying at all. Before the time of prayer we must put ourselves in the state of mind we would wish to have in us when we actually pray. It is an inexorable fact that the condition of the soul at the time of prayer depends upon what shaped it beforehand. The soul will rise to the heights of heaven or plunge into the things of earth, depending upon where it lingered before the time of prayer."

Thus then, was the second conference of the monk Isaac on the nature of prayer… …We very much wanted to put it into practice. We thought we had here a short and easy method. But in fact we found that it proved less easy than our regular habit of looking here and there in the body of Scripture for meditation themes without being bound by any one of them.

"But at least this much is clear. No one is shut off from perfection because of illiteracy. Lack of culture is no bar to that purity of heart and soul which lies quite close by to everyone. Constant meditation upon this verse will keep the mind wholly and entirely upon God."

Closing

HOPE

Delight of my Heart,

I grow ever more grateful

as I pause to look over my shoulder,

reflecting on days gone by,

seeing how your counsel never leaves me.

Perhaps it is the terribly clean dawn

sweeping over the January land

that gifts my heart with a strong sense

of hope, of promise, of blessing.

Somewhere far down inside

I feel cherished and welcomed by you.

I believe you are drawing me ever closer,

with the whisper of "come" in the air.

Eternal presence, all afire in me,

you breathe upon my embers, they glow.

Your ever-reaching love holds me

as I learn again to not be afraid.

Just as the light has given me morning,

so you, Holy One, have given me hope.

Praise to you for drawing me forward,

encouraging me to bid farewell to the past.

Continue to blow on the embers.

Light the fire again and again.

Flame it bright and full.

Gift me with surrender in love

so that I can be more fully yours.

 

"Hope" , taken from Prayers To Sophia,
by Joyce Rupp

"Wisdom rescued from troubles those who served her."

Wisdom 10:9

Words of Wisdom

"So we understand at last that action must be born in silence, and abide in silence, and issue in silence, and that its power must be an emanation and the radiation of silence, since its sole aim is to make men and women capable of hearing the Word that silently reverberates in their souls?"

"In solitude Christ speaks to the heart, as a modest lover who embraces not His beloved before all the world."

from Our Lady of Wisdom, Zundel

Lectio Divina for CP Groups
Contemplative Outreach of Dallas

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