Thursday, March 1, 2012

Too Busy Not to Lectio

Deutsch: Trappistennovize bei der Lesung in se...Image via Wikipedia
Too Busy Not to Lectio

In this economy, those of us who are lucky enough to have jobs have probably grown tired of the refrain, “We have to do more with less.”  Everybody’s busy and it seems the more technology we have, the worse things get.  To help provide an antidote to hectic lives, I’ve added a regular posting series on the ancient practice of lectio divina, or sacred reading.  To anyone familiar, though, with the classic practice of lectio, it should be obvious that isn’t what I’m offering here, not primarily.  What I’m suggesting is something that might be called, lectio for the overworked, or lectio for the too busy person.

The classic practice of sacred reading involves the steps I’ve include on the lectio page of this blog, which, if practiced as designed, involves some daily commitment of time and effort.  It’s usually suggested that be a daily period of a minimum of 30 minutes.  For many people, myself included, that’s a tough thing to do.  Finding 30 minutes when we can be silent and alone is near impossible with all of the other duties and responsibilities we  have.

But, spending perhaps 10 minutes of prayerful time with the Word is much less a challenge, and, I may be overstating the case, but I think no less beneficial.  Based on my own experience any regular daily time spent reading a short passage of Scripture and pondering it’s meaning for our lives can be a great blessing.  I’m hoping to encourage you to do so by providing short passages, usually from the daily Mass readings for the following week.


I’d like to offer a few suggestions concerning beginning and continuing this practice.  First, there are no rules.   I’m providing a short passage each week, if that passage speaks to you stay with it, even if it means continuing with it into the following week.  If it doesn’t speak to you, you might try reading the entire chapter the reading is from, or perhaps something from the preceding or following chapter.  If, as in the case of this week’s reading, the passage is from a short book, you might read the entire book and begin to pray from that, even if it means staying with the book for a week or two.  If that doesn’t help, turn to the Mass readings for that day and begin there.

Next, if a passage does speak to you in prayer, trying writing a portion of it on a card, or better, try memorizing it so as to have it with you the rest of the day.  That way, if things seem to be getting too hectic and you need to stop for a few minutes, you can review your lectio from that morning to gain some refreshment and reassurance that even in the chaos of a busy day, God is there with you.

Try to do this at the same time, in the same place, every day.  This regularity is very helpful in establishing the habit of prayer in our lives and also helps our experience of prayer. 

Finally, as you read, take it slow.  Even a passage of seven or eight verses can take several days to quietly and meditatively read through, especially in short sessions.  Reading is not, in this case, study.  You’re not trying to gain a greater understanding of something or gather useful information.  You might think of this as time wasted, at least in the way the world looks at such things.  In this case, seven or eight verses can be more than enough to keep you in prayer for the entire week; if so, so be it.  Go with the flow.

I’ll try to write more, over the next month or so, on some things I’ve learned about this way of doing a daily prayerful time of reading God’s word.  I also hope to provide more information on lectio on the new lectio page, for example helpful web resources and books on the topic.  In the meantime, if you try this I hope you discover why I say you may be too busy not to lectio. 
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