In his Rule, St. Benedict reserves an average of three hours per day for lectio divina, the prayed reading of Holy Scripture. In lectio divina, a person reads Holy Scripture less for the sake of information than for the sake of formation. I ask God to speak to me through his word. Then I slowly read the text I have chosen, paying attention to which word, line or phrase speaks to me and resonates within me. When I have found such a word, I pause, repeat this word in my heart, and hear it as spoken to me personally. I ask myself: How does it express the deepest truth of my life? Then I take the word as starting point for my prayer, for my conversation with God. I ask God to fulfill the longing of my heart that this word has awakened. Finally, I rest in God’s presence, similar to the way I sometimes can enjoy being together with a friend with no need for many words.
A modified form of lectio divina is visio divina, prayerfully looking at a piece of art, paying attention to what strikes a chord in me, then entering into prayer with this detail or aspect of the image, and finally just resting in God’s presence.
The Saint John’s Bible is a wonderful fruit of both lectio divina and visio divina. It is the first handwritten Bible commissioned by a Benedictine monastery in more than five hundred years on approximately 1,150 pages and including one hundred sixty major illuminations. A copy of the large, seven-volume leather bound Heritage Edition, which is a fine art reproduction of the Saint John’s Bible, had been donated to St. Benedict Center! It will be on perpetual display in our lobby later in 2019 as an eminent help for prayer and meditation. We will keep you posted.
From St. Benedict Center I can report that we replaced the twin beds in the single guest rooms of our west wing with full size beds. Particularly for improvements like this, as well as for special projects like the display described above, we are in need of financial assistance from you, our friends. One way of supporting us, besides through cash donations, is through a gift from your IRA account or through donating stock to us. In these ways you can take advantage of tax benefits. For more information, please visit our webpage.
Especially worth noting among our upcoming retreats is the retreat with spiritual author Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr, OSB, on September 28 – 29, titled, Abide: Keeping Vigil with the Word of God, which is about prayer and mindfulness in the midst of daily life. – An exhibition of keyboard instruments will take place at the Center on September 7 – October 14. Pianos and organs from the collection of Steve Misener, Stockholm, SD, will be on display, which either have a connection to a Classical or Romantic Era composer or are from those musical time periods. – I am looking forward to seeing you again soon.
Fr. Thomas Leitner, OSB.