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Lectio Divina Reading

July 7, 2005

 A Prayer to the Holy Spirit

Come Holy Spirit and Living Flame, pour into our hearts from the depths of the Trinity the rays of your light. Help us to listen more deeply to the words of scripture you have enflamed. May your holy fire penetrate our hearts and minds so that we in turn may penetrate your words at ever deepening levels of understanding, insight and response. AMEN


The four moments along the circumference of the circle are

  • Read softly aloud the selected passage

  • Reflect in the sense of ruminating

  • Respond spontaneously in prayer

  • Rest in God beyond thoughts and particular acts

The Way of Paradox

We identify ourselves with what we do, with the role we believe we are called upon to play in society. 'What are you?' we are asked, and we answer: a lawyer, a chimney sweep, a doctor, a dustman, a priest. Yet these are only functions, things we do; they are not us. Eckhart is emphatic that our truest self, in the core of our being, has nothing to do with function and nothing to do with roles, which we may assume, either for our own benefit or for others. 'It is as if you were to name someone a carpenter; you are not calling him "soul" or "man" or "Henry" or anything according to his own proper being; you are naming him only according to his proper work or function.'

These roles and functions are real projections, like the ones we foist onto God, and we apply them to ourselves for exactly the same reason: because they give us a sense of security, a sense of identity and belonging. They prevent us from glimpsing the awful void and emptiness within ourselves; they make us feel solid, needed, valued and permanent. And indeed, like our 'God projections', they may not be entirely illusory. I may really have a natural aptitude for gardening, or music or finance, which can be put to good use in society and thus give me a name and a sort of identity. My real 'self' is something quite other and is as much concealed as revealed by these social roles. And sometimes unforeseen circumstances can occur which shatter them and display their hollowness: the woman, whom her husband has always believed to be a faithful and contented wife, suddenly walks out, leaving a note on the mantelpiece, the clergyman, who has always been considered a perfect model of decorum, suddenly shocks everyone with an indelicate joke at a garden party. 'Role-gaps', or the incompatibility between the external social role and the inner personality, are considered as a problem in society. But Eckhart would not consider them necessarily as problems; rather, he would see them as a possible sign of hope. By exposing the illusory nature of the role, the true self might be enabled to surface. By shattering the shell, there is a chance that we might get at the kernel.

The Way of Paradox, Spiritual Life as Taught by Meister Eckhart, Cyprian Smith, OSB

If God is good, why do you put such punny value on knowing God's goodness, when this same goodness gave God's Son over to death to set you free from death, though Christ's great sadness and many labors?

When you say you can't do good works, you're just not telling the truth. You do have eyes to see with, ears to hear with, a heart to think with, hands to work with, and feet to walk with. Your body can stand up. It can lie down. It can sleep. It can wake. It can eat. It can fast.

God created you this way. So, resist the impulses of your flesh, and God will help you because when you set yourself against the devil like a strong warrior against his enemy. God delights in your struggle. God wants you to call on Him in every hour, in every trouble. God wants you to call on Him constantly. 

Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias


Lectio Divina for CP Groups
Contemplative Outreach of Dallas

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