Monday, July 11, 2005

reflectere



“Reading without meditation is arid,
meditation without reading is erroneous;
prayer without meditation is tepid,
meditation without prayer is fruitless.”
(Guigo, The Ladder of Monks: 12th-century manual of spiritual)
“Those who have abandoned themselves to God always lead mysterious lives and receive from him exceptional and miraculous gifts by means of the most ordinary, natural and chance experiences in which there appears to be nothing unusual. The simplest sermon, the most banal conversations, the least erudite books become a source of knowledge and wisdom to these souls by virtue of God’s purpose. This is why they carefully pick up the crumbs which clever minds tread under foot, for to them everything is precious and a source of enrichment.”
JEAN-PIERRE DE CAUSSADE
The Sacrament of the Present Moment

Much of what is sacred is hidden in the ordinary, everyday moments of our lives. To see something of the sacred in those moments takes slowing down so we can live our lives more reflectively.
The word reflect comes from two Latin words: re, meaning “back,” and flectere, meaning “to bend.” To reflect, then, is to bend back something, like the way a mirror bends back an image, providing an opportunity for a closer look. Living, and in this case, reading reflectively provides opportunities during our day for a closer look at things, at people, at ourselves, and at God. The faster the pace of our life, though, the more we will miss those opportunities.

Therefore, it is essential that we take pauses. Pauses create spaces in reader’s heart so the words the writer has written have room to live. The space we give words – whether those words are the text of Scripture or the texts of our daily lives – allows them a place to live in our hearts. Without creating spaces of time in our lives, we stunt whatever growth the words were meant to produce.
Believers throughout the Bible were used to putting pauses into their lives. They structured pauses such as set times for daily prayers, strict observances for weekly Sabbaths, and holy days that punctuated the year, such as Passover and Yom Kippur. This habit of structuring pauses made it easier for them to take spontaneous pauses during the day, which is so essential for living a reflective life.
If we stop reading and don’t pause or reflect, how can our hearts have a chance to respond to what is written, to be touched by it in some way, or to be softened by it, even broken by it?
The pauses give resonance to the words, giving them a place to live in our heart. That is why it’s important to schedule pauses into our day. A busy schedule crowds out those pauses. When life pressures us to put as much as we can into a day, we start reducing the type, combining paragraphs, editing out the spaces, eliminating the margins. And after a while, we simply stop reading.

4 comments:

dailyjoy said...

“The simplest sermon, the most banal conversations, the least erudite books because a source of knowledge and wisdom to these souls by virtue of God’s purpose.”

The recent studies on sacred pathways has clearly explained, defined and helped me realized how uniquely God created each of us to connect with him, others, and ourselves.

I journal to be intimate with God, to organize, record and make sense of the thoughts consistently running rampant in my mind, and recently I realized it is also because many of the thoughts I have are so deep and touching to me but when expressed seem silly to others.

For example, Le Tour de France has had a powerful impact on my life the last few days. Not because it is a bike race but because the way God has used it as a life lesson. As I watch the race it becomes a “source of knowledge and wisdom”.

At dinner Friday night I was very excited explaining some of what God has taught me through the tour when I noticed my friends rolling their eyes as to say “oh there she goes again” :-) Previously I have always felt like I was different or strange but Friday for the first time I felt uniquely blessed to be able to see such wonderful meaning outside of the “typical” religious arenas. To know God created me uniquely to grasp the power of the pentalon and how it relates to God’s purpose for me and others.


Thank you for continuing this blog even though often there is no response or conversation generated. I am sure if you were privy to many of our journals you would find reflection and internal growth evident.

On a final note I would like to point out Merriam-Webster gives the following definition.

Beach --- a shore of a body of water covered by sand, gravel, or larger rock fragments.

Does Indiana have beaches ?????????????? :-)

Jerrell said...

Props to you for consulting your dictionary! I guess Indiana/Michigan does have beaches...

Isn't it amazing the freedom that comes when we begin to discover how God has designed us to relate to Him? So much begins to make greater sense. It's just really cool...

I guess that's something that can bring "dailyjoy" eh? :-)

Jerrell said...

Props to you for consulting your dictionary! I guess Indiana/Michigan does have beaches...

Isn't it amazing the freedom that comes when we begin to discover how God has designed us to relate to Him? So much begins to make greater sense. It's just really cool...

I guess that's something that can bring "dailyjoy" eh? :-)

dailyjoy said...

Things really do begin to make sense. Not only are you able to recognize the different pathways which come naturally but how God gave you the perfect combination to work together. They are intertwined. Alone they are bumpy and occasionally dead-ends but when combined they become a super highway to God.

I love researching and learning new information. When my mind is challenged and growing I feel alive yet information alone does not build my most natural pathway to God. For me I have to be able to take the new data inputted in my brain away to a place of solitude preferably where nature is prevalent such as in the woods or any place outside………if not outside then I need to be able to experience outside ……..to watch the clouds, feel the sun, or even hear the raindrops.

In the solitude I first begin to digest the information. Analyzing, compiling, organizing and narrowing to a specific area of focus. Then the contemplating and mediating begins and continues through out the day or longer until I grasp the information and it sinks in past head knowledge to my spirit.

It just amazes me that God created me with not just one narrow pathway but several which blend and complement each other so well………The perfect pathway for me.

Another thing I have realized is how I tend to want everyone in my life to experience or travel the same pathway as myself. So many times when friends or family are struggling on their walk with God, I stress and push my pathways on them. In my mind, since journaling, reading and even classes are so powerful; I think they must work for them. I am realizing I need to stop and really listen to them, help them discover the pathway which is most natural for them and then encourage them to walk there.

This past Sunday my small group did the worksheet to discover each of our pathways. It was interesting and informative to hear others talk about paths which are weak or non existent for me, yet are the most natural for them to take.

Understanding our natural path has encouraged us to experiment with the paths which do not come so naturally to us. Our challenge this week is to take the path which was weakest and see what happens when we attempt to utilize it. Even if the pathway is still a struggle I think it will help each of us to better understand each other and how we experience God most powerfully.

Sorry I am rambling I am just so excited about all I am learning……….God created me this way you know :-)