Tag Archives: Benedictine Oblate

Lectio divina –being familiar with Christ

The following is something I curated and posted on the Benedictine Oblate Facebook group today.

In a recent newsletter from Fr. James Flint, OSB of St Procopius Abbey (Lisle, IL) he writes about his abbot asking the monks to say something about lectio and what was gleaned is “Give me a word” —some thoughts on lectio divina. See https://www.procopius.org/lectio-divina

As you know, the practice of prayerfully reading sacred Scripture is a key part of being a Christian, indeed, a Benedictine Oblate. Some Oblate formation programs stress lectio divina more than others. From experience, this is true for the Oblates of St Meinrad Archabbey. Whatever the case may be, lectio is rather crucial if you are truly seeking God —having familiarity with Jesus Christ.

Give me a word

~Words about the time and place for lectio divina. Most importantly, find the time to do it. Find a time of day that works for you. It can help to use the same time each day. Keep the amount of time short at first – you can build up to longer times eventually. Have a quiet place, away from normal affairs, to pray lectio divina. Don’t allow distractions. Find a sacred place.

~Words about picking a passage to do lectio divina with. At first, take just a few verses of Scripture. Use the readings for Mass, since you’ll hear them again when you go to Mass.

~Words about the “method” of praying lectio divina. Don’t get caught up with following a “method” or “technique,” but rather the important thing is to spend time with God through Scripture. Don’t over-think or over-analyze – eventually the Scripture takes the lead in the dance. Do lectio divina regularly, in a way that works best for you. Work on being quiet and do not focus on what you are doing. Don’t get discouraged and give up, if you don’t seem to be getting something out of it – keep to it! Lectio divina is a prayerful, patient pondering of a biblical text. Steps for lectio divina give your prayer purpose and direction.

~Words about how to read the biblical passage. Read over the passage repeatedly and slowly. Remember that through Scripture God is speaking to you. Be mindful of God’s presence. It can help to use a printed text, rather than a digital one on your phone or computer.

~Words about how to meditate on the passage. Meditate on the text in order to understand it. Think about how the words apply to you and to others. Ponder yourself in the biblical story or in the original audience of the text.

~Words about how to offer prayer in lectio divina. See your prayer as a relationship. Transitioning from meditation to prayer is important, for it helps to apply the text and opens you to what God wants to give you in this prayertime. The reading of Scripture must be applied to my life.

Lectio requires an altogether different approach, one that opens us to God’s agenda. The purpose is not to read a chapter of Scripture a day, to “get through” the Bible in a year, or anything of the sort. The purpose is to listen to God’s message to me, here and now, today. The quantity of material “covered” is irrelevant, and it could be counter-productive even to think in such terms. The material it should be that sets the agenda. Once we understand and apply that, we are engaged in lectio divina.

St. Procopius, pray for us.

Benedictine Oblates at the time of Church crisis

The St. Meinrad Oblates from the greater NYC area gathered as you know, for the 78th annual retreat this past weekend. As part of our Spiritual Exercises we have a Eucharistic Holy Hour. This year we prayed during this time for the Church which is currently in crisis as the consequence of clergy sexual abuse and cover-up, for the victims and victimizers.

Some of the Litany of the Sacred Heart that stand out:

Heart of Jesus, source of justice and love
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love
Heart of Jesus, well-spring of all virtue
Heart of Jesus, worthy of all praise
Heart of Jesus, king and center of all hearts

Employing the intercession of the Blessed Mother, St. Benedict and all Benedictine saints and blesseds, we asked for a renewal of the Church: laity and clergy alike.

This is a time of prayer, penance and works of charity.

Advent is to proclaim salvation

Tonight, the Latin Church begins her preparation for the Nativity of the Lord. Pope Benedict said at one of his addresses at the Sunday Angelus:

… we have been experiencing the liturgical season of Advent: a time of openness to God’s future, a time of preparation for Christmas, when he, the Lord, who is the absolute novelty, came to dwell in the midst of this fallen humanity to renew it from within. In the Advent liturgy there resounds a message full of hope, which invites us to lift up our gaze to the ultimate horizon, but at the same time to recognize the signs of God-with-us in the present. The Lord wants to do in Advent: to speak to the heart of his people and, through them, to the whole of humanity, to proclaim salvation.

 

As a Benedictine Oblate, I have to myself:

How has my Oblation lifted my gaze to my ultimate horizon? That is, in what ways does my Oblate life lead me closer to my destiny with God? In what ways does my Oblate life open my heart to hear the Lord speaking to me and open my hands in putting my faith into action?

Famous Benedictine Oblates

The question surfaced recently about who are some famous Benedictine Oblates. Here is a brief list thus far:

Saints, blesseds and Servants of God

Saints Thomas Aquinas, Thomas Becket, Cunegundes, Ida of Boulogne, Thomas More, Oliver Plunkett, Frances of Rome, Henry II, Ranieri Scacceri, Blessed Mark Barkworth, Blessed Itala Mela, and the Servant of God Dorothy Day

Artists, Authors, Clerics and Theologians

Carolyn Attneave, Elena Cornaro Piscopia, Eric Dean, Rumer Godden, Edith Gurian, Romano Guardini, Emerson Hynes, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Dwight Longenecker, Jacques and Raissa Maritain, Kathleen Norris, Elizabeth Scalia, Walker Percy, Denys Prideaux, Norvene Vest and Pope Benedict XVI.

Is your name among those listed here???

Conference on Benedictine Lay Movements and Communities in the UK

Sts Benedict, Maurus and PlacidEaling Abbey AND the Tyburn Monastery to host conference on Benedictine Lay Movements and Communities

The monastic spirituality forum – Community of Nazareth – will be hosting a conference on contemporary Benedictine lay movements and communities at Ealing Abbey on the 11th of June 2016. The conference will explore the values, mission and outreach of Benedictine movements. A number of groups will be participating in the event: Manquehue Movement, Lay Community of St Benedict, Community of St Aelred, Subiaco Walsingham, Monos and NazarethW5. 

The day will commence by joining the monastic community at their conventual mass at 9.15. The conference will begin at 10.15 with each group explaining its particular mission and how its transmits monastic values to others. There will be discussion about the nature of those groups and movements: residential communities, dispersed communities, e-communities and social media. There will also be talks examining Benedictine witness, in particular looking at the lives of Bl Gabriella of Unity and the Tibhirine martyrs. The day will conclude by joining the monastic community for vespers at 5.30.

Talks and papers will be available via the website (www.communityofnazareth.com) SoundCloud (Community of Nazareth) and twitter (@NazarethW5).

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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