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Lectio Divina Reading

May 13, 2004

Practice of "guard of the heart" . This is the practice of releasing upsetting emotions into the present moment. This can be done in one of three ways: doing what you are actually doing, turning your attention to some other occupation, or giving the feeling to Christ. The guard of the heart requires the prompt letting go of personal likes or dislikes. When something arises independently of our plans, we spontaneously try to modify it. Our first reaction, however, should be openness to what is actually happening so that if our plans are upset, we are not upset. The fruit of guard of the heart is the habitual willingness to change our plans at a momentís notice. It disposes us to accept painful situations as they arise. Then we can decide what to do with them, modifying, correcting or improving them. In other words, the ordinary events of daily life become our practice. I canít emphasize words, that too much. A monastic structure is not the path to holiness for lay folks. The routine of daily life is. Contemplative prayer is aimed at transforming daily life with its never-ending round of ordinary activities.

Practice unconditional acceptance of others . This practice is especially powerful in quieting the emotions of the utility appetite: fear, anger, courage, hope and despair. By accepting other people unconditionally, you discipline the emotions that want to get even with others or to get away from them. You allow people to be who they are with all their idiosyncrasies and with the particular behavior that is disturbing you. The situation gets more complicated when you feel an obligation to correct someone. If you correct someone when you are upset, you are certain to get nowhere. This arouses the defenses of others and gives them a handle for blaming the situation on you. Wait till you have calmed down and then offer correction out of genuine concern for them.

Definitions

Contemplative prayer: The development of oneís relationship with Christ to the point of communing beyond words, thoughts, feelings and the multiplication of particular acts; a process moving from the simplified activity of waiting upon God to the ever-increasing predominance of the Gifts of the Spirit as the source of oneís prayer.

Method of contemplative prayer: Any prayer practice that spontaneously evolves or is deliberately designed to free the mind of excessive dependence on thinking to go to God.

 

Lectio Divina for CP Groups
Contemplative Outreach of Dallas

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