Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transparent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world. ~ Sara Ban Breathnach

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Reading under the Eye of God - Lectio Divina

“Reading is the careful study of the Scriptures, concentrations of one’s powers on it..."  Guigo II

Lord, as I begin learning more about Lectio Divina, let your word be a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. AMEN.

There are four parts of Lectio Divina and this morning, I am focused on the first Reading.  Using Guigo's words, "Reading under the eye of God."

First, I want to think how this kind of reading is different than the reading I do daily.  Reading under the eye of God would suggest: 

I will read......

  1. I will read slower.  I'm not on a race or a contest here.
  2. I will read reflectively. I'm not just reading words to read words.  I will reflect on those words.
  3. I will read with an openness or a longing to be touched...
  4. be healed...
  5. ...and to be transformed.
My dad is trying to get used to a new diet after his stay in the hospital last week.  This past Sunday he was faced with a cook out at his church.  I suggested that he put the right foods on his plate and then to sit down and eat s-l-o-w-l-y.  This would be the same advice I would give myself in reading scripture chew on it slowly.  Just as I would not sit down and gulp my food at the dinner table, I want to come to the table the Lord has set before me with the same attitude and demeanor.
"To be fully nourished by the richness hidden in these words you must hover over them slowly and reverently as one who is certain of finding a search calmly and with assurance.  You will find the treasure. You will be fed. You will be transformed." (Macrina Wiederkehr, A Tree Full of Angels, p 52)
We live...distracted! Doing many things
at once and doing none of them well!
"Remembering that we are reading under the eye of God is an immense help for our distracted hearts. We are naturally distracted creatures. We do not yet own the undivided hearts we yearn for.  Remembering that we are reading under the eye of God can help us remain open to the possibility of that divine eye guiding us in our reading." (Ibid)  

Actually, I think some were not only perplexed but worried
about what they had gotten themselves into!
Reading all this, I smile.  A few years ago I gathered with a small group of women.  Our goal was to journey together through the Companions in Christ book from Upper Room.  Now, some had gone through the several year study of BSF and the others had read and led Bible studies.  They knew how to read and find the right answer.  Imagine how perplexed they were when I told them there was no right or wrong answer!  Imagine how confused they were when I told them we would read to find ourselves within scripture AND that we might not all land in the same place with the same idea.

I did not realize what a radical approach that would be for this group and was surprised when anxiety surfaced...almost immediately.  Looking back, I appreciate they were accustomed to "gathering information" when reading scripture and that the suggestion of being formed and transformed was off their screen.
"We are information seekers. We love to cover territory. It is not easy for us to stop reading when the heart is touched; we are people who like to get finished. Lectio offers us a new way to read. Read with a vulnerable heart. Expect to be blessed in the reading. Read as one awake, one waiting for the beloved. Read with reverence." (Wiederkehr, p 53)
If the Companions in Christ group reads these words today, they will understand and will be ready to move on, however, I have not forgotten their initial resistance and confusion.  Thus, there is a very good chance that there are others who read Macrina's words and scratch their head, trying to figure out what she means!
"We are naturally reverent beings, but much of your natural reverence has been torn away from us because we have been born into a world that hurries. There is no time to be reverent with the earth or with each other. We are all hurrying into progress. And for all our hurrying we lose sight of our true nature a little more each day. This is precisely why we need to believe in the eye of God hovering over us. We are not alone. There is One with us who wants to give us back our reverence. There is One with us who wants to give us back the gift of time." (Ibid)
I want to read the Scripture "giving up the lie that I don't have time".  I want to read with the awareness of God watching over me, sitting next to me....guiding my heart and my mind.

Macrina offers a prayer that I can pray before I begin:
"All-Seeing One,
above me, around me, within me.
Be my seeing as I read these sacred words.
Look down upon me
Look out from within me
Look all around me
See through my eyes
Hear through my ears
Feel through my heart
Touch me where I need to be touched;
and when my heart is touched,
give me the grace to lay down this Holy Book
and ask significant questions:
Why has my heart been touched?
How am I to be changed through this touch?
All-Seeing One,
I need to change
I need to look a little more like You
May these sacred words change and transform me,
Then I can meet You face to face
without dying
because I've finally died enough.
To die is to be healed a little more each death,
until that final death
when I'll be healed forever.
It will be a healing that will last.
Your Words are healing
although they bring about my death.
O, Eye of God, look not away.  AMEN.  

Many Blessings ~ Sandi

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