Reading From the Rule

The first link at the right will take you to today's reading from the Rule of St. Benedict!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Thank you Katie for the following:

From "How to Practice Lectio Divina" on
Lectio divina is a slow, contemplative praying of the Scriptures. Time set aside in a special way for lectio divina enables us to discover in our daily life an underlying spiritual rhythm. Within this rhythm, we discover an increasing ability to offer more of ourselves and our relationships to the Father, and to accept the embrace that God is continuously extending to us in the person of his son, Jesus Christ.
Very often our concerns, our relationships, our hopes and aspirations, naturally intertwine with our meditations on the Scriptures. We can attend "with the ear of our hearts" to our own memories, listening for God's presence in the events of our lives. We experience Christ reaching out to us through our own memories. Our own personal story becomes salvation history...

Lectio Divina as a Group Exercise

In the churches of the Third World, where books are rare, a form of corporate lectio divina is becoming common, in which a text from the Scriptures is meditated on by Christians praying together in a group.

This form of lectio divina works best in a group of between four and eight people. A group leader coordinates the process and facilitates sharing. The same text from the Scriptures is read out three times, followed each time by a period of silence and an opportunity for each member of the group to share the fruit of her or his lectio.

The first reading is for the purpose of hearing a word or passage that touches the heart. When the word or phrase is found, the group's members take it in, gently recite it, and reflect on it during the silence that follows. After the silence, each person shares which word or phrase has touched his or her heart.

The second reading (by a member of the opposite sex from the first reader) is for the purpose of "hearing" or "seeing" Christ in the text. Each ponders the word that has touched the heart and asks where the word or phrase touches his or her life that day. Then, after the silence, each member of the group shares what he or she has "heard" or "seen."

The third and final reading is for the purpose of experiencing Christ "calling us forth" into doing or being. Members ask themselves what Christ in the text is calling them to do or to become today or this week. After the silence, each shares for the last time, and the exercise concludes with each person praying for the person on the right of him or her.

Those who regularly practice this method of praying and sharing the Scriptures find it to be an excellent way of developing trust within a group. It also is an excellent way of consecrating projects and hopes to Christ before more-formal group meetings.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

What Are You Reading This Lent?

Feb. 19, 2015
Looking for something to read during the 40 days of Lent? Faculty and staff at The Catholic University of America share their favorite Lenten prose and even an audio tape for listening when you’re on the go.
Gateway to Resurrection, by Sister Maria Boulding, Burns and Oates
“This is a series of reflections on life in Christ by Maria Boulding, a Benedictine nun of Stanbrook Abbey in England. She had been a great translator and commentator on Augustine as well as the author of wonderful books of spiritual reflection. This book emerged from her reflections upon learning of her diagnosis of cancer during the last year of her life. Very moving and insightful.”
A Lent Sourcebook, edited by J. Robert Baker, Evelyn Kaehler, and Peter Mazar, Liturgy Training Publications
“This is a collection of scripture, psalms, poems, readings, etc., for each day of Lent. It has served me since its publication as a rich source of Lenten reflection.”
—Rev. Michael Witczak, associate professor of liturgical studies

Bonaventure’s Tree of Life
, translated by Ewert Cousins, in the Classics of Western Spirituality Series, Paulist Press
“The Tree of Life is a text of brief meditations composed by Saint Bonaventure (who died in 1274) that essentially follows the life of Christ, beginning with the mystery of his divinity and ending with the mystery of life in heaven, when we shall (hopefully) be with Him. The text is meant to move our emotions and guide our affections and this it can do through its often stirring prose. Since it is a text from the Middle Ages, however, it looks to stir those emotions in ways that might shock us. His prose is very visceral in its descriptions. Yet if one ponders this little work slowly, it can still bear fruit today.”
—Joshua Benson, associate professor of historical and systematic theology

The Joy of the Gospel 
by Pope Francis,
“Pope Francis’s 2014 apostolic exhortation in book format affords the reader convenient access to this challenging document on the Christian life and everyone’s responsibility to evangelize the world.”
Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in A Secular World by Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Crossroad Publishing Company
“This Nouwen classic reminds the believer that a vulnerable, personal relationship with the Other is a prerequisite for the New Evangelization.”
Truth & Life: Dramatized Audio Bible – New Testament, Ignatius Press
“This is just one audio version of the New Testament, which might replace listening to the car radio during your commute to and from work. This Lent why not listen to Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John instead of the usual fare?”
—Father Jude DeAngelo, director of Campus Ministry

Mercy in the City, How to Feed the Hungry, Give Drink to the Thirsty, Visit the Imprisoned, and Keep Your Day Job by Kerry Weber, Loyola Press
“A fun and enjoyable read set during Lent that challenges oneself to look at how the beatitudes can be incorporated into your own life and not just something heard on Sundays.”
Jesus: A Pilgrimage by Rev. James Martin, S.J., HarperOne
“Father Martin engages the reader through storytelling, academics, and scripture as he guides them through Christ’s journey and brings to life who Christ is today. A great Lenten reflection for any reader, regardless of where one might be on their own spiritual journey.”
—Pam Tremblay, associate campus minister for women’s ministry and pro-life ministry

Saturday, February 7, 2015

This is from Neil:

"You can't reach out to what is in front of you until you let go of what's behind you" 


We are all a little bit like this. The familiar is comfortable and perhaps even more pleasurable than the choice(s) before you. Most of the time you cannot have both if we are speaking of spiritual progress.

Let us take our tongue which is capable of conciliatory reasoning and evil vindictive. As The Letter of James points out Chapter 3 verse 11 -- "Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water?"

In the vernacular Jesus might say: "Clean up your act."

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Good morning

Good Morning Everyone.

As we continue our study on kindness and humbleness, I wanted to post a few of the links that relate to the topics.

Tom shared with us the PBS series "A Path Appears".  I have found links that I hope will take you directly to Episode 1 and Episode 2.  In addition, here is the link to David Steindl Rast's website on  Gratefulness.

Please pass along any readings, thoughts, links to sites or announcements that you would like to share with the others in our group.  You can email me directly at or call me at 757-793-1333 any time.  I will get the information on this blog site so we can share what we are learning each and every day.

Have a peaceful and beautiful week.  Find a moment to connect with a stranger and show them God's kindness through you!


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Good Morning Everyone,

As we study St. Benedict we learn, share and practice what it means to be a good Christian.
Sister Joan writes the following, which I forward because I believe we are trying to achieve the third level of a spiritual life.


 Three stages of the spiritual life

The spiritual life is not a template; it is a process meant to change our lives. There are stages in the spiritual life that move us from one level to another.

The first is compliance. The Ten Commandments dominate in this phase. Being spiritual in this phase depends on keeping a list of do’s and don’ts, on keeping the “rules”—whatever they are—on being perfect.

The point is that we don’t make choices in this stage. Not real choices. We simply conform or rebel. We do what we’re told but never ask ourselves whether or not what we’re doing has anything at all to do with Beatitudes or not.

The second level of the spiritual life is awareness. It has more to do with becoming a Christian than it does with going through the rituals of being Christian.

…we come to realize that though God began the process of Creation it is our responsibility to complete it. Then we set out to become the kind of people we were put on Earth to be. We begin to go out of ourselves for the sake of the world rather than simply awarding ourselves gold stars to being regular observers of ancient rituals. It is holiness, not regularity, that we are now concerned about in our spiritual life.

Finally, the third level of the spiritual life is transformation. It requires that we ourselves begin to “put on the mind of Christ.” We ourselves begin to think like the Jesus of the Mount of Beatitudes. We face what it means to be just in an unjust world, meek in an arrogant one, humble in a domineering one, compassionate in a prejudiced one, full of grief for those who suffer from suffering not of their own doing, compassionate for those who are oppressed by the indifferent of the world.

Then the truly spiritual soul sees the world as God sees the world and sets out to make it right.

—excerpted from the “Foreword” by Joan Chittister in Sick, and You Cared for Me: Homilies & Reflections for Cycle B, ed. by Deacon Jim Knipper  (Clear Faith Publishing).

Friday, September 19, 2014

Our Community

"We are all bound to the Gospel, under leadership of some kind, faced with the dictates of tradition or the cautions of experience and in need of a direction" (RB 3)

Following Wednesday's discussion of our identity as Benedictines at St. Martin's, these lines resonated.  I see us as: Bound to the Gospel, under the leadership of our ministers -- Shirley and Clay -- within an Episcopalian tradition, using the Rule as a compass in our search for living as followers of Christ.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

We would see Jesus.

This Wednesday, we looked at the four kinds of monks that Benedict describes in the rule.  Benedict describes the lives of each of these monks and the means by which they seek Christ, and admonishes those whose path lacks depth or commitment.  And so,we asked what kind of seekers are we, in this community?  How are we Benedictine?  How are we Christians?  Are we committed to a deepening faith?  How does are commitment to the group deepen are faith?  We began to answer.  I think we each will continue to ponder.

We have been sanctified by the church. To be sanctified is to be made holy, to be separated out from ordinary for the work and use of God.  We separate ourselves out for holy time and space to grow together in Christ; we are a community of Christians, and in this we are Christians as Benedict envisioned being followers of Christ.  Over and over, we see Christ in one another and we become Christ for one another.  We would see Jesus in our midst and in the face of others.  To show up each week is to be Christ for one another and to let others be Christ for us.  Often fear of intimacy or responsibility holds us back from this kind of connection.  We also remember that each of us is responsible for our own discipline in the reading of the Word and the reading of the Rule.  It is this discipline of prayer that connects us, but it is also this discipline the strengthens us and helps us to grow.

Sr. Joan shares these words of wisdom:
The ancients say that once upon a time a disciple asked the elder,
"Holy One, is there anything I can do to make myself Enlightened?"
And the Holy One answered, "As little as you can do to make the sun rise in the morning."
"Then of what use," the surprised disciple asked, "are the spiritual exercises you prescribe?"
"To make sure," the elder said, "that you are not asleep when the sun begins to rise."
The Rule prescribes directions that will keep us, like the mythical disciple, awake until what we live, lives in us.