February 2021 Lectio Divina and Oblate Reflections

Sources: Colossians 3:12-17; Always We Begin Again: The Benedictine Way of Living by John McQuiston II (pages 17-22)

For our Lectio Divina practice, we read more deeply Colossians 3:12-17

We share aloud, some of the words and phrases that resonate with us:

God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved. Put on…heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

Bearing with one another. Forgiving one another. Put on love….that is the bond of perfection.

Let the peace of Christ control your hearts. Be thankful.

Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly. Gratitude in your hearts. 

Compassion: We think of compassion as feeling sorry for someone, but it is to feel with someone, to enter into the sufferings and joys of another person. Jesus had compassion for us, entering fully into our lives. He is one with us. We are called to emulate this kind of compassion with others. Sometimes there may not be much we can say to another, but we can give our presence, a physical touch. Wordless gestures are just as compassionate, perhaps even more so.

Patience: We can let in the peace of Christ by praying each morning. Patience flows from that peace and the other virtues can flow from that patience. Allowing the peace of Christ to permeate us, even when we are not feeling it, can sustain us once we dive into our day’s work and it becomes more difficult to keep focused on the peace of Christ.

Peace: Dwelling in the word of Christ within is a reboot. So often, we fail to turn our hearts to God, but it is a process, a practice—it is a journey and takes years to return to the peace of Christ. Some have found it helpful to use the words of Jesus from the Mass—“My peace I give you.” Patience must start with our self; we must work through our limitations. It is a process of letting go our own expectations of what we should be or do.

Love: To put on love IS the bond of perfection. Love is perfect. Jesus tells us to be perfect as our heavenly Father. Perfection means to be complete, whole and less about being mistake-free. The process of growing IS perfection—it is a journey to wholeness through growing rather than striving. We must be gentle with ourselves—we begin again to practice when we feel we fall short. St. Benedict writes that we must accept our limitations and those of others. We are hospitable to each other. Practicing love and gratitude can bring the peace. Resting in the words that God calls us—beloved, chosen, kings and queens, child of God. It is not just the words that matter, but living into the meaning of the words of who we are.

The second part of our discussion focused on Always We Begin Again: The Benedictine Way of Living by John McQuiston II (pages 17-22).

“We must resolve to treat each hour as the rarest of gifts, and be grateful for the consciousness that allows us to experience it, recalling in thanks that our awareness is a present from we know not where, or how, or why.”

John McQuiston II, Always We Begin Again

Following the advice of The Rule (paraphrased in Always We Begin Again, page 19), we ask ourselves how present we are during our busy and scheduled day. We must resolve to treat each hour as the rarest of gifts, to be grateful for the consciousness that allows us to experience it. Our awareness the present moment is a gift—we try to not hurry to the next moment or be too focused on the past moment.

…come to comfortable rest in the certainty that those who participate with an attitude of compassion will receive its full promise.

John McQuiston II, Always We Begin Again

We can let go of the search, the striving, or some guarantee of security and rest in the certainty that we are brought to perfection by living out the virtues of this morning’s lectio “Those who participate in this life” are on this journey to fullness, to perfection. Participation is internalizing how we are to live. Participation is not just checking boxes on a schedule, or a list of things to do, or a mechanical attitude of “I must be this way or that way.” Grace is living into the participation with this perfection that God desires for us. It is participatory, not transactional. It is relational, not mechanical—for the Benedictine life is a school, a continual learning.

Be gentle with this life, and use the light of life to live fully in your time.

John McQuiston II, Always We Begin Again

We can take comfort in being gentle with ourselves and others. Harshness is not needed.

Join us in March to continue our conversation using the little book “Always We Begin Again.”