Shalom Place Community
G. Conference Two - Personal Christ (B)
01 March 2004, 03:43 PMPhil
G. Conference Two - Personal Christ (B)Click here
to read conference two online.
For a discussion focus, you might share what your questions or comments are from the conference. Also, what are some of your experiences using Lectio Divina?
01 March 2004, 06:41 PMjohnboy
Fellow Lenten Journeyers,
I am grateful for all of your sharing and find great consolation in your online company and witness. I have had an inchoate notion of what I wanted to do for Lent that is only just now coming together for me.
Because I can struggle on occasion with a worry habit and am constantly in need of a cure for its recurrences, two Scripture passages have been coming to mind. I had to look them up on Bible Gateway because, although I knew some of their keywords and phrases, and certainly their thrust & sentiment, I was not really aware of where they were located. Turns out they are from Philippians and 2 Corinthians.
I suppose the lead in is the passage from Corinthians (several versions below), which issues the admonishment to casting down [certain] imaginations and then the imperative to lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
It then seems to naturally follow that, in leading our every thought into the obedience of Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, we are to look at Jesus, who embodies a) whatever is true, b) whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, c) whatever is just, d) whatever is pure, e) whatever is lovely and lovable, f) whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, g) excelling in virtue and excellence, and h) exceedingly worthy of praise.
Our Catholic heritage is rich in opportunities to encounter Jesus, whether in Lectio Divina, Ignatian imaginative prayer, other contemplative approaches, in the sacraments, in especially in the Eucharist as thanksgiving, as meal, as covenant, as memorial, as presence in our People Gathered, in our liturgical presiders and ministers, in The Word and in Holy Communion.
Now, for my nitty gritty
approach, as Phil alluded to.
I have found my greatest connection to the person of Jesus by praying the Psalms, especially those quoted in the New Testament, knowing that I am best emulating His own prayer habit, which is sometimes just the singing or chanting or recitation of a couple of verses, accompanied by a silent contemplative giving over of myself to the entire psalm, which resonates in my heart even if not on my lips.
Since the Psalms have been generally categorized as the Glad Psalms, the Sad Psalms and the Mad Psalms, this helps my relating to Jesus to naturally segue from the cognitive to the affective aspect, my mind leading to a more full engagement of my heart and in a manner that "connects", not only with Jesus' mind while on earth but also with His Sacred Heart both while on Earth and at the Father's Right Hand. He thus feels my gladness, my sadness and my madness (take that any way you'd like --- as anger or craziness).
I will thus hold you all in my thoughts and in my prayers ... ... and in my heart. I feel blessed to be a member of Sacred Heart Parish for that is how I describe my connection, my personal relationship with Jesus, not so much in a chatty, best friendish mode (which is certainly okay and some people's experience as I understand them) but moreso in a heart to heart, feeling mode, with the impetus coming from the feelings expressed in the Psalms.
When I do switch from affective to cognitive mode, I engage moreso the Creator of thomistic natural theology and the Cosmic Christ of process theology, seeing Duns Scotus as a 13th Century bridge to Teilhard de Chardin's perspective on the Incarnation, which is that He would have come to earth even had we never sinned! That thought moves one right back to love and affection, eh?
The passages are below.
pax, amor et bonum,
2 Corinthians 10
5[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)
2 Corinthians 10
5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ
2 Corinthians 10
5 We are destroying speculations and every (1) lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the (2) obedience of Christ
2 Corinthians 10
5We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
8Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things.
8 Finally, brethren, (1) whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
8For the rest, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].
01 March 2004, 11:55 PMNettie
Thank you, johnboy, for reminding me that Jesus prayed the psalms (of course, Mary also) and this is an effective way of praying with Jesus. I had been mostly thinking of the New Testament gospel writers quoting the psalms for teaching purposes. Also, thank you for the scripture sources regarding holding every thought captive in obedience to Christ. Techniques for that have been my focus for quite a while now. I am delighted, and feel a call, to practice these two aspects as a Lenten discipline.
02 March 2004, 12:11 AMAnnieK
Thanks for reminding me of the Psalms, also. A few years back I was using them in prayer and as I look back I think it was "working" for me. I'd like to try praying with the Psalms again.
02 March 2004, 01:59 AMJanie Sohmer
Lectio Divina has been the most powerfull and healing kind of prayer for me. I have been using the Benedictine method but I am going to try the Ignation and Phil's approach. I have been a "Bible reading" Christian most of my adult life but nothing has opened my heart to the transforming power of the living Word like Lectio Divina prayer.
These conferences are wonderful and have caused me to reflect quite deeply. Thank you!
Blessings to all,
03 March 2004, 01:16 AMNettie
It is good that, through Phil's experience in spiritual direction, he has assured us that "if one takes the time to communicate with Jesus, he will eventually become the priority he wants to be in our relationships." Today I tried Lectio Divina, the contemplative method of praying with Scripture, as adapted by Phil St. Romain. My weekly assigned hour in the Adoration Chapel provided the perfect setting (our Church Parish has Adoration 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Though it may seem that Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament puts the focus on the Divinity of Christ, there is no limit to prayer style. To encouter the personal/historical Christ as requested in part 2 of our retreat, the passage I chose is Jesus Transfigured (Luke 9:28-36). It is our liturgical reading for the second Sunday of Lent. I skipped step D of he method, because the older I get, the less talkative I am in prayer. The sacred word this time for me was "listen"; and it was fun listening to the conversation between Moses, Elijah, and Jesus. I won't go into details, but the trigger in this prayer was the fact that Luke actually said what they were talking about. This is the first time I noticed it as being more specific than Mark and Matthew. It was just wonderful to stay on that mountain with all of them, sharing such a strengthening memory with Jesus, in the awareness that the Father was telling me that I am also his chosen one.
And so are you, my retreat friends,
03 March 2004, 11:01 AMPhil
Just to note, here, something that I'm sure most of you already know -- that we can relate to Jesus without using a formal approach like Lectio Divina. Lectio is great for praying with Scripture, but we can relate to Jesus at any time by just communicating our thoughts, feelings, etc. to him.
Sometimes on those long drives to and from Great Bend, I imagine that he's sitting in the passenger seat besides me, and I just talk to him about whatever is on my mind. It doesn't feel that strange, as no one else is around, and I'm prone to talk to myself anyway.
But after a short while, I have a sense that he's really there, listening. Eventually, I even have a sense of him communicating to me, if in no other manner than the turning of my thoughts and feelings in a more grounded directions. The exercises leaves me with a deeper sense of relationship with Jesus, and that alone is a good worth pursuing.
03 March 2004, 04:00 PMelizabeth
I am so glad to hear that Phil talks to Jesus as he drives. I talk to Him when I walk.(aloud) At first I felt a little silly but after awhile I lost my inhibitions. We had an old neighbor that would walk and talk to Jesus and I must admit at first I thought she was a little strange. I have since totally changed my mind. There is something comforting about his presence. And I agree with Phil when he said : "Eventually, I even have a sense of him communicating to me, if in no other manner than the turning of my thoughts and feelings in a more grounded directions." Thanks for the confirmation.~ elizabeth
04 March 2004, 12:09 AMFreda
As I read this second part of GROWING IN CHRIST, I became even more aware of a sense of neglect I'd been feeling lately towards Jesus. Just this morning I was writing in my journal how much I miss our quiet times, because I used to spend every morning in Centering Prayer.
A new job and added responsibilities has cut that time substantially, and I was feeling it this morning and talking to our Lord about it. How appropriate, that I should read Part II as Phil describes the need to take the time to actually be
in relationship with Him.
I also found it interesting to talk about how our relationship with Jesus becomes decisive. I remember when I finally quit smoking (by Grace) after many years. I went to the Holy Spirit because I felt that my cigarettes were something I loved more than Him and I was ashamed to feel that way.(What could I say? I "enjoyed" smoking)
I sincerely felt then, as I do now, that what I was doing to my body and my soul was dishonoring to the One who had given me the ability to truly live. This was my impetus for praying and seeking prayers from others in my faith community for deliverance from the addiction. Even the desire to smoke was removed from me by Grace.
Lastly, regarding our relationships with others: I doubt seriously if anyone who has poor relationships with others can possibly have a good relationship with Jesus. After all, how can we say we love One whom we have not seen, yet consider insignificant others who are like ourselves? (Remember 1 John 5:20?)
Conversely, I believe as our relationship with Jesus grows, so do our relationships with others outside of our own small circles of concern. Suddenly, our circle of concern widens considerably. Has anyone else experienced this?
04 March 2004, 12:54 AMPeggy Kern
Hi, all. I've been trying to do a little lectio divina with the gospel readings for the day this week, and to my great delight, I've found it very helpful, though some days the readings are easier than others to hear Jesus speaking. But I've tried to think of myself as being with Jesus after he's said this particular thing or done whatever he's done, and to just ask him about it or share my thoughts with him about it as I go through my day. I will probably need to work on sitting down and finding a more specific time period to do this, but for now, it's enough to just do it throughout the day, as I'm working or whatever. I'm amazed at how much better I remember what the readings are for the day. Before, I used to have to think for a few minutes before (hopefully) remembering what I'd read. But keeping it as a topic of conversation and sharing between Jesus and myself has been really helpful this week.
04 March 2004, 11:24 AMPhil
From Freda: Conversely, I believe as our relationship with Jesus grows, so do our relationships with others outside of our own small circles of concern. Suddenly, our circle of concern widens considerably. Has anyone else experienced this?
Yes indeed! I think the reason for this is because what grows in us is a capacity to relate. Some authors have written that one of the chief characteristics of sin is the attitude, "I will not relate." That, too, carries over into all areas. So if we cultivate relationship with Christ, that disposition of "relatingness" opens us to human beings as well.
From Peggy: I'm amazed at how much better I remember what the readings are for the day. Before, I used to have to think for a few minutes before (hopefully) remembering what I'd read. But keeping it as a topic of conversation and sharing between Jesus and myself has been really helpful this week.
Excellent! And again, think of the parallels in our human relationships. If we don't communicate often enough, we lose a sense of the relationship.
How much is necessary?
That's where a sensitivity to the depth of connection with Christ or another person comes in.
Good discussions! We can keep going on this and previous threads even as we add others.
04 March 2004, 08:22 PMFreda
I, too, like that "running conversation" you keep with our Lord after your usual devotion time. I've experienced the same sort of forgetfulness you spoke of as the day has become more hectic. What you're doing sounds similar to THE PRACTICE OF THE PRESENCE OF GOD by Brother Lawrence. I think I will begin to use this approach as well. Thanks for sharing!
04 March 2004, 11:49 PMbrjaan
I have to admit at heart I am a selfish noisy person and have difficulty quieting myself down. To pray I like to use verbal forms such as the Liturgy of the Hours, & the Rosary. I think I have a touch of ADHD when it comes to silence or meditation. Both of these devotions helped me through some tough times in my life and ultimately were some of the things that led me into the Church. I have tried other devotions with various levels of progress. But my favorites remain The liturgy of hours and the rosary. Recently I have been using breath prayer and the Jesus Prayer. Both of these help prepare me for the Liturgy of the Hours were I experience Lecta Divina.
05 March 2004, 12:49 AMPhil
Nice going, brjaan!