February 2017 Oblate Reflections and Lectio Divina
Topic—Prayer; Rule of St. Benedict, Chapters 8-20, 52.
The Divine Presence is Everywhere, RB 19:1 We believe that the divine presence is
everywhere and that in every place the eyes of the Lord are watching the good and the wicked. (Prov 15:3). 2. But beyond the least doubt we should believe this to be especially true when we celebrate the divine office.
“It is also held that even work can be prayer. Any occupation undertaken through obedience, offered to God and accompanied with short invocations frequently renewed would in itself be prayer. Thus, only by sanctifying one’s daily actions can one pray without ceasing.” – Maria-Thomas Beil
Lectio and Discussion
Scripture for Lectio Divina: Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18
After reading the Scripture out loud, we contemplate, consider and reflect on what we have heard. The Scripture is read again. After some time of silence, we are welcomed to share a word or phrase that speaks to us. What I love most about practicing lectio divina with a group is what resonates with each of us is so different. We bring to the table a variety of ways to understand what we’ve read; we learn from each other.
Inner room. Deliver. Do not babble. So that others may see them. Received they reward. Sees in secret. Thy will. Us. Forgive. Your Father knows what you need.
What resonates with you from this reading? This is what resonated with us:
There’s more to prayer than making words.
Prayer is a corporate thing. Where two or more are gathered, we ask “forgive us, give us our daily bread, lead us not into temptation”—it’s about ALL of us, not just about me. “Thy kingdom come” means that doing God’s will is more important than the outcome.
What does “Thy will be done mean?” When someone has cancer, you want them well. How do you pray for others? Is it valid? What is the value? Who is it for?
Sometimes we are at the end of our wits; it’s impossible for me to do anything about it, so I lift them up to the Lord. The Lord doesn’t need or prayer, but it puts me in the right position with God. “Lord, teach me how to prayer.” Prayer is when I acknowledge the reality in which I am living. That is real prayer—where we don’t babble, it comes from the heart because we truly surrender. We need to see the reality of who we are and that I am always depending on the Lord and his presence. Sometimes circumstances just don’t make any sense at all.
God’s grace gives us acceptance and peace. The grace to accept life just the way it is. JUST ACCEPT. Our prayers aren’t answered the way we want them to, but accepting our reality is the answer to prayer.
“Prayer is a friendship. Jesus is always with me. I talk to him, not out loud. Well, sometimes out loud. Help me! I enjoy the silence of that friendship.”
There is great solace in praying for body, mind, and spirit. What are we all created for? To come back to God. He left this space open to help people come back to him. This space is our life. The prayer is for others to be drawn to Jesus’ heart. Our mind and spirit need healing. Our body will fade away, but peace is what we are looking for. This is the highest prayer. Peace doesn’t mean you are not afraid, but something deeper is at play—the peace is the acceptance. Peace IS faith, the acceptance of our reality. It comes down to experiencing God’s presence.
Without God, I can do nothing. Trust God no matter what is. Did the Israelites expect it to be 40 years when they asked for deliverance? TRUST.
It takes humility to admit that God knows better about what is best for us or another. Humility is the foundation of prayer.
When you give in completely, there is absolute JOY.
What is it we expect from God? This is our problem. We wonder why does the Lord allow this? Cancer, catastrophe, political turmoil. We have to acknowledge the reality we are living in, even as it relates to our country, our work, our relationships. Accepting our reality is an opportunity for growth.
Prayer is telling ourselves that God is in charge. The struggle in life is learning do I want what God wants?
We need to remember the importance of returning to prayer. One does not fulfill hunger by eating once and being forever filled up. The same for prayer. We have to return to it over and over to keep filling our spirit. I used to think myself a failure at being resilient, trusting, obedient, a good Christian because I could not maintain a level of piety that I thought I should. But I understand more now that I need to be consistently and constantly fed through prayer. My spirit cannot do “it” alone, it empties and needs to be refilled with the words and energy and love of God that cannot be received in any other way.
Source for discussion: Study Guide for the Rule of St. Benedict with Reflections for Oblates and All Who Seek God, Maria-Thomas Beil, OSB
Other resources recommended:
Wisdom Distilled from the Daily, Joan Chittister, pages 27-38, “Prayer and Lectio: The Center and Centrifuge of Life”
Life Giving Way, Esther de Waal,
Rule of St. Benedict Chapters 8-20
Preferring Christ, Norvene Vest, pages 70-86
Engaging Benedict, Laura Swan, pages 37-49, “Until it Soaks into my Bones: Benedict on Prayer”
A Monk in the World, Wayne Teasdale, pages 19-47, “Intimacy with the Divine”
Discussion led by Fr. Volker Futter. Blog post compiled by Jodi Gehr.