Category Archives: Spiritual Life

Listening with the ear of the heart – Lectio Divina

I am firm believer, based on experience AND the witness of Tradition of the Church, and that of Benedict XVI, that Lectio Divina is the prime method of my daily spiritual renewal. It is the daily re-birth of my life in Jesus Christ. My hope is that I can be faithful to the practice. Here is a fine thought on value of Lectio:

The monastic art of the reading (lectio) which is really a kind of listening (“with the ear of the heart”, cf. Rule of Benedict) to what the Word of God is saying to us in the Scriptures. They were also given time and space to immerse themselves in the practice of this art and to share their experience with one another and some of the monks. And all, of course, took place within the daily round of prayer and work which make up the life of the monastery ( or, in the home and workplace, among friends).

Jesus Prayer concerns

Abba Macarius the Great said, “Concentrate in this name of our Lord Jesus Christ with a contrite heart, the words welling up from your lips and drawing you to them. And do not depict Him with an image in your mind but concentrate on calling to Him: ‘Our Lord Jesus, have mercy on me.’ Do these things in peace and you will see the peace of His Divinity within you; He will run off the darkness of the passions that dwell within you and He will purify the inner person [2 Cor 4:16, Eph 3:16] just as Adam was pure in paradise. This is the blessed Name that John the Evangelist pronounced: ‘Light if the world and unending sweetness, the food of life and the true food'” (Jn 6:48, 6:55, 8:12)

From The Virtues of Abba Macarius the Great

In ALL things be grateful to the Lord

Reflection from St. Basil the Great: “When you sit down to eat, pray. When you eat bread, do so thanking him for being so generous to you. If you drink wine, remember him who has given it to you for your enjoyment and as a relief in illness. When you get dressed, thank him for his kindness in supplying you with clothing. When you look at the sky and the beauty of the stars, throw yourself at God’s feet and adore him who in his wisdom has arranged things in this way. In the same way, when the sun goes down and when it rises, when you are asleep or awake, give thanks to God, who created and arranged all things for your benefit, to have you know, love and praise their Creator.”

Prayer and Fasting

Prayer and fasting, worship and adoration, Scripture and sacraments and sacramentals all provide the weapons of our spiritual warfare. With them we go on the offensive against the Evil One. But the virtues provide our defense armor. As Blessed Pope Paul VI once observed, St. Paul ‘used the armor of a soldier as a symbol for the virtues that can make a Christian invulnerable.’ They are our best defense against his attacks, for they guard our minds and hearts from his deceptions and temptations. A lapse in virtue is in fact a chink in our armor that makes us vulnerable.

Paul Thigpen
Manual for Spiritual Warfare,  p. 57-8

Conversion is a process

In the Byzantine Church today the gospel passage is that of Zacchaeus. He is re-purposed by the Lord for something great, something new, something never felt before. The newness is that of Grace transforming the darkness of our lives into some thing that God can use for the up-building of His Kingdom, for the bringing of the Hundredfold. As with Zacchaeus, so with us. Here is a brief meditation:

The process of conversion begins with genuine openness to change: openness to the possibility that just as natural life evolves, so too the spiritual life evolves. Our psychological world is the result of natural growth, events over which we had no control in early childhood, and grace.

Grace is the presence and action of Christ in our lives inviting us to let go of where we are now and to be open to the new values that are born every time we penetrate to a new understanding of the Gospel. Moreover, Jesus calls us to repent not just once; it is an invitation that keeps recurring.

In the liturgy it recurs several times a year, especially during Advent and Lent. It may also come at other times through circumstances: disappointments, personal tragedy, or the bursting into consciousness of some compulsion or secret motive. that we were not aware of.

A crisis in our lives is not a reason to run away; it is the voice of Christ inviting us to accept more of the divine light. More of the divine light means more of what the divine light reveals, which is divine life. And the more divine life we receive, the more we perceive that divine life is pure love.

Awakenings
Thomas Keating, OCSO

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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