Lectio: Listening as Communion

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Part of "Lectio: Listening with the Heart"

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#set-lectio-listening-with-the-heart

#preached-retreat

Tape mislabeled as "Fr. B. Barnhart"

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And I'd like to begin with a quote from the Brief Rule of St. Romuald. We have very little in terms of the words of Romuald, so these are very precious to us Kamaladees. In fact, I'm hoping maybe next year, in 92, to give a retreat on the Rule, on this Brief Rule of Meditation. To me it's very, very loaded and very rich. I have it enshrined in my cell. Take every opportunity to sing the psalms in your heart and to understand them with your mind. And if your mind wanders as you read, do not give up. Hurry back and apply your mind to the words once more. Realize above all that you are in God's presence.

[01:04]

That's exactly what I've been stressing. The important thing is to realize when we come to the Word that we are in God's presence. I've been talking about who we are and what we are when we come to the Word for Lectio. Now, there are other ways of using Scripture, and they're legitimate, some of them. I'm only addressing the Lectio approach to Scripture, for encounter. And I've been talking about, I think I've mentioned 11 or something like that, of these attitudes in approaching the Word, which are there we must take very, very seriously, and I can't stress them enough. So I want to say a few more. The next one I would say is the management of time, space, and regularity.

[02:16]

This is very important as we approach the text. Lectio requires time and space and discipline. There's no way, sorry folks, there's no way out of that for whoever you are. How much time is going to depend on a lot of circumstances in your life. But it does require time, space, and discipline. One cannot approach the Word when one feels like it. Or when I'm in the right mood. If I allow my Lectio to be guided by my moods and my feelings, how uneven that practice would be. It is important to encounter the Word in all seasons of your life, in all situations

[03:25]

of your life, in all conditions of your life. Not just when you feel like it. Why? So that the Word may have an effect on all aspects of your life. And the only way that's possible is through a practice, a discipline, that does not depend on your moods. And that's where we get into the asceticisms of trying to organize one's life. We also need to be careful not to associate our Lectio only with certain moods and feelings. If you create that association, you're going to have a lot of problems. Because they'll be linked to, when I feel a certain way, is when I pick up the Bible. When I want my pacifier is that when I pick up the Bible, then it becomes a pacifier, at least at the emotional level. So when you have a regular practice, no matter what you're feeling, it's going on, you see.

[04:27]

And it's not at the mercy of the various states. For this reason, Lectio must be a regular and necessary practice, so much so that eventually it becomes as essential to life as breathing. As the Scriptures tell us, to feed, it's to feed not on bread alone, but every word that comes from the mouth of God. And that's those two quotes, Deuteronomy 8.3, which Matthew cites in 4.4, when Jesus says, I have bread to eat which you know not of, and tells the demon in the desert, it's not by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God that we live. Now, no one can do this, the setting of time and space and regularity, nobody can do this

[05:27]

for you. There's no magic tricks or answers or gimmicks. It is each person's responsibility. It is part of the asceticism for modern times. Part of the asceticism for modern times is to make careful choices among too many choices that we have in our society. We have too many choices before us. And part of the asceticism is how to make the right choice, the life-giving choice for the deepest level of life, the life of my very soul, my heart of hearts. As Americans, we tend to think freedom is choices, and it's many choices that I can have the freer I am, yet actually too many choices can paralyze us or enslave us in a sort of

[06:33]

promiscuous giving of ourself to everything that passes us by just in order to exercise a choice. Kind of what Hosea talked about when speaking to the Israelites in a rather derogatory fashion as a whore spreading her legs for every passer-by, you know. It's strange, you know, we've worked so hard as a culture and society to have many choices and yet that can be a problem to have too many. And the problems we see in our society with commitment are related to too many choices. And this notion, this illusion we have that freedom is to choose, and I'm really free the more choosing I can do, and commitment robs you of freedom. And it does, yes, in terms of if you lick it with choices, yes, you have less choices,

[07:37]

you're narrowing your field. But you cannot go deep unless you narrow your field. You want to play the field, you will skim the surface of life. If you learn the asceticism to narrow that field, you will be able to go deep. And then you'll discover a breadth and a length and a height and a depth, to quote a famous man in scripture, of God's love. Part of the discipline of Lectio is to take the daily readings chosen by the church for liturgy, especially those for the Sunday celebration, which our church says is the primary celebration of our week. Now, these readings are based on cycles, so that in a three-year period for the Sunday

[08:40]

readings, and a two-year period cycle for the weekday readings, all the major sections of the Bible are covered. So you don't have to worry about reading it from end to end, and it takes all the major things for you, and you follow it along in sections. This discipline keeps one's Lectio in touch with the whole church that's pondering these very same texts every day and every week. They connect you, which is very important for listening as communion, which is what we say Lectio is. It's not only communion with the Divine Presence, but communion with the community of faith, the body of Christ. So that's what we recommend for new candidates here. This is what I recommend for everyone to do. You can add to that, but primarily for your basic practice to follow the readings chosen

[09:42]

by the church, to realize that there are billions of, well, I'm not sure now, how many Catholics are there? Millions, anyway. I forget how many. Eight hundred. Thank you. Who are doing the same Lectio. And then you have to add the Anglicans. They follow the same Lectionary. I'm not sure if the Methodists now follow the same Lectionary, but there are some others, and the Lutherans, I think, are on the same Lectionary now. So there's more than that. Also, this is important to follow the liturgical seasons of Advent, Christmas, Lent, Eastertide, Pentecost, and Ordinary Time. These readings link us to the liturgical seasons. Also, this is important because it eliminates the ever-present danger of choosing just those texts that we like, that we find acceptable, that are easy to understand, that we're not

[10:44]

confused by, or offended by, or repelled by, or threatened by, all which can influence your choice of a text, if you're honest. So, somebody else chooses a text. You know, how often I hear people say, oh, I don't like the readings today, blah, blah, blah, blah. Good. Dig in there. So that's also important. I know some people who only look at certain texts, the ones that are agreeable to them. That's okay as far as it goes. So we can see that this part of this time, space, and regularity is to get into this discipline, and to realize I have to narrow my choices in terms of what I really want and make commitments. So that's important before we come to the text. Another one is preference for quality over quantity is important.

[11:48]

Lectio is not for the person with a voracious appetite to read through a lot of scripture. The compulsive overachiever who feels good when he or she covers a lot of ground in their reading. That is not. Lectio is not for that kind of person. Lectio requires a preference for quality over quantity. It's very difficult, if not impossible, to pursue both quality and quantity. It's very difficult, if not impossible, to pursue both together. You end up with one gaining and the other losing. How much we read is not that important for Lectio. How deep one goes is most important as everything. And again, as Americans, who our sense of well-being and of value and of worth and of

[12:52]

being loved is so tied to performance and achievement, we can't even begin to overestimate how that plays into our Lectio, even at unconscious levels. So go for quality, not quantity. We are not to worry if we do not get through all the assigned daily readings, which I've just told you. I didn't get past the Gospel this morning, as beautiful as that Hosea reading was. In my personal Lectio time, I didn't. Part of that was I was going over some of these talks for you, so it's your fault. I usually do, but I spend far more time on the Gospel. That's okay. Remember, the Word provides a context for encounter with Christ, and we have to keep this in mind. Scripture study in itself has its own legitimate style and task, and it also supports, as I've

[14:00]

mentioned before, our Lectio. But it is not Lectio per se. Study is a part of the necessary preparation for Lectio. So not to confuse a study approach to Scripture with a Lectio approach. Another important thing, before we even open the text, is Lectio requires a sense of belonging to the Church, to a believing community, who originally produced the books of the Bible, decided which to include and which to exclude, has preserved it as a particularly inspired word down through the ages, and has provided certain guidelines for its interpretation for each generation. My Church and its scholars help me to listen to Scripture as I study, consult commentaries,

[15:07]

and listen to the Spirit in my own heart. Without this ecclesial, communal context, my listening to Scripture most likely will be at the total mercy of my own prejudices, my own limited point of view, my own past, my own personality idiosyncrasies. You see, we also come to the Scriptures with ourselves, our personality, our past, our foibles, our psychic filter. The Word always passes through that psychic filter of ours, and is always tainted and touched by it. That's why some people, when they read the Scriptures, only hear things like correction or punishment or an angry God, because they hear out of their parental, authoritative,

[16:11]

punitive images and memories of perhaps childhood, and everything is filtered through there. And that's all they can hear. Likewise, you'll hear the person who only hears love, and nothing else. Soft fuzzies. Be very careful not to realize this. And so, this broader community is very important to help us measure our listening, to provide some kind of a standard or a norm against which we evaluate what we believe, what we think, what we suspect the Word is saying to us. And the last thing I come—I've finally arrived at the end of these—the last thing

[17:19]

I come to the Scriptures with is a particular approach for reading it. So we've been talking about all those attitudes and qualities and capacities that we bring with us to the text, which is at least half of the encounter. But now we want to focus on the actual encounter with the text. I think we're ready to do this. This is the approach. I want to avoid the word method or technique. This is the approach handed down through the centuries. It is what many faithful practitioners of Lectio have discovered in their experience. It is not an exact method, step by step. But for a beginner, that may be the case more often than not. So one must allow the freedom of the Spirit to work and thus take the following things

[18:25]

that I'm going to say only as a general framework, more of a description rather than a directive. Please, don't take it as a directive. So what might we say about the Lectio process? Well, I'm going to reiterate for the sake of ad nauseum, the first is preparation. That's what we spent two reflections on. Am I approaching the Word with the right attitude, with reverence, with faith, hope and love, with a desire to encounter my Lord and God and Savior and Beloved? Do I see this as holy ground and therefore I approach the Word slowly, without hurriedness or anxiousness or out of a sense of duty or obligation?

[19:28]

I prepare myself. The words of John the Baptist in the Gospel of John, chapter 3, verses 29 and 30 are appropriate here. Quote, it is the bridegroom who has the bride, and the bridegroom's friend who stands there and listens to him is filled with joy at the bridegroom's voice. This is the joy I feel and it is complete. He must grow greater, I must grow less. We seek that voice of the bridegroom. Is that why I'm coming to this text? Part of my preparation each morning at 4 a.m. is the lighting of the fire in my wood-burning stove. I then make a cup of coffee. I'm human after all.

[20:31]

I get my afghan and wrap it around me. Turn my damper down a little bit to get the heat coming out of the side. Then I light my candle, which is right beside my sitting chair. I sit down and wrap around, and a part of me wants to grab that Bible right away and get to it. I withhold that, I resist that compulsion, and I breathe slowly and deeply and try to be aware of what I'm about to do. I turn into the silence. I think of my beloved, alone with me, in the intimacy of myself, whom I have married through my vowed life as a monk,

[21:36]

for whom I have forgone the intimacies of married life, the family life. I remind myself of who I am and why I have come here, and who is with me in this cell. In the quiet of 4 a.m., the darkness all around me, in my very breath, and until I'm aware and awake and attentive to my beloved, I do not pick up the book, until then. Then I reverently take it and kiss it and look up the text for that day.

[22:39]

Then I put both hands on the text. I pray a prayer to the Holy Spirit, recognizing my own powerlessness to plumb the depths of Scripture. This is the prayer I pray. Spirit of the living God, it is you and you alone who plumb the depths of God, the depths of my own heart, the depths of Scripture. Open my mind and my heart, that I might hear and receive your word and allow it to take root in my life. Saint Augustine says, Pray to comprehend the Scriptures. Isaac the Syrian says,

[23:44]

Do not approach the mysterious words of the Scriptures without a prayer. Say, O Lord, give me the gift to receive the power which is in the Gospel. So preparation is very, very important. More and more I'm almost beginning to think it's everything. Then I look up the text and I begin to read the text for that day, always beginning with the Gospel. Even though we say the first reading that we'll hear at Mass is either from the Old Testament or from the Acts of the Apostles or the Letters, I begin with the Gospel, always as the norm of Scripture. Christ is the norm of Scripture.

[24:46]

Christ is the heart of Scripture. Christ is the fulfillment of Scripture. The Gospel is about Christ. And the word Lectio is the Latin word for reading. So that's what I'm doing. I begin reading. And my reading consists of several things. The first thing is to be aware of where the text is from that I'm reading. What book? Who is the author? So I open up and I see I've opened to Matthew, for example. Chapter 5, the Sermon on the Mount. To be aware this is Matthew. And of course this is where your general framework right away for me, I have a certain context that I'm aware of the Sermon on the Mount as well as its parallel text in the other Gospels. I have a general knowledge of Matthew's intent in the Sermon on the Mount.

[25:50]

It's kind of just always just background information as I'm beginning to read. And Matthew's general concern in this Gospel. Matthew's rabbinic concerns. His concern to link Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament, as the new Moses. All of these, kind of after you do studies, they're just sort of there as like the background curtain. And that's important to be aware of that. I'm reading Matthew's version. Keep that in mind. Jesus went on to the mountain, the new Moses, you see. Keep that in mind. So what book the author? A second thing. In what part of the book does this selection come from? Which chapter? Beginning of the book? The Galilean ministry section? Is it coming from the passion narratives towards the end of the Gospels? If it's a Gospel that has the infancy narratives,

[26:51]

the early childhood of Jesus, what section of the book is it coming from? And most Bibles have headings for the section. This is all part of being familiar with the context within which the daily selection appears. Is the selection today a continuation of yesterday's? Sometimes we get a continuous reading, sometimes they're edited. If it's edited, it's best I go back to where the yesterday's left off and on my own read that till I get to the chosen text today so I get the full context. It's important to know what precedes your text and what follows your text. So I look at the first disciples called

[27:55]

and then right before the Beatitudes in Matthew as Jesus proclaims his message and heals the sick. And then what follows after it. The salt of the earth teaching, the fulfillment of the law, the new standard higher than the old. So I kind of situate it. It's important to do that. And again, I don't spend a lot of time doing that. Because I always have to listen within a context. And the first context is the me that I come to the text with, but now there's the context of the text itself. Okay, I've done that. Then I slowly read through the entire text for that day. I then re-read it. And in my re-reading, I may decide to look up the footnotes. I would recommend the Jerusalem Bible as a very good study Bible. Take a look at these footnotes for the Beatitudes. It's all footnotes. They don't look like they're at the foot of the page at all.

[28:57]

They're very, very ample. So depending, and again, I don't always do this, but this is what I may do. I may look at the footnotes, which in the Jerusalem are little alphabetized letters by certain words. So I'm reading through it the second or third time, and I stop with one of those, and I look up A. I read everything through A. And most often in that footnote will be other cross-references, other citations. I take note of those. I may want to look those up later. Then I go back, and I come to, so there might be, sometimes there's no footnotes, sometimes there's seven or eight in the text. I read them all. I go back to the text, read through it. The footnotes may have enriched my understanding of certain phrases and words and background to this text.

[29:58]

I also have on the side in this Bible references. Some references have two lines by them, meaning parallel. Parallel text. Luke's version, or John's, you know, where else I can find that. I may want to compare to see what Matthew has done or is doing. And then there are other references. They're usually for the, in the Gospels, it would be for the Old Testament. I may, I don't automatically, I may want to look those up. These are all aids that are designed to expand the Word, to amplify the Word, to enrich the Word for us. So let's say I read through these, and I go back for a third reading after having read the footnotes. Ah, there's maybe a little bit more meat there. There's a little bit more substance there. There's something a little bit more

[31:00]

resonating and being evoked now. It's not quite the same the first time I read it because I went through the footnotes. Parallel or the references. Either on the side or that may have been mentioned in the footnotes. So I look those up. And we're always returning after to the original text. I will then read again, stopping at key words, phrases, images, scenes. This I may stop based upon my knowledge of Scripture study, my knowledge of the text and certain key elements for Matthew. And it also may be based on or both inner resonances with the word or phrase or image where there is energy, where I notice an energy,

[32:02]

a word that sort of is evoking something in me. Usually when we have a text that we find difficult, text to understand, we find it confusing, obscure, unclear, those especially are the times you go to your footnotes and you go to the cross-references. That's especially when you do it. At this point a person may also consult, although you don't have to do it at this point, I'm just saying what are possibilities. I don't do the same thing all the time. One can consult a commentary. Okay, the first commentary that I consult is the standard Jerome Biblical Commentary on the entire Scriptures. And it's a real commentary, it's not a meditation, it's not doing my Alexio for me, be careful people who do that.

[33:02]

It gives very little expansion if you've ever used it. So it's a very, very kind of tight, strict commentary that won't harm what the Spirit is doing in you. So I may consult this, I may consult it later too. So I look it up, I read that through, and this may give me further references that weren't in my footnotes or on the column, which I may look up. But I always go back to the original text after these various consultations and reference checks. And what I should find is a greater richness in the text in comparison to when I read it for the first time. That's what you look for, to see is there a greater richness. Because the text now, oh my God, you're reading between the lines and you see all kinds of implications. Now of course I begin my Alexio

[34:05]

with an awareness of God's presence with me. You're not doing Alexio to become aware of God's presence, you should begin with it. However, what I should notice is that my awareness of God's presence undergoes a change as I go through this process. A kind of deepening, a kind of transformation. Almost a kind of qualitative difference. As the Word, as it were, is taking me into that presence that I began with on a journey. The Word always takes us where we are, always meets us where we are, but never leaves us there. The Word is a gift. In the reading of the Words,

[35:10]

the initial taking it in, it's important to realize that it was written to be heard first and foremost in an allowed fashion, and only secondarily in an interior voice. So it's good to read it aloud at least a few times, to read the text aloud. How often I have done an hour and a half, two hours. How often in a Sunday homily I have spent eight hours for a twenty minute homily, and when I heard it reading just before I preached, wham! I didn't hear that all the other time. By the public proclamation. It's amazing. I'm amazed. And of course my style in homilies, I give myself freedom to change it. And so I'll change when I get up there. I'll let myself be influenced by what I just heard. There's something about that public speaking, or that allowed speaking of the Word

[36:11]

that is amazing. So it is good to remember that that was the original intent, because everybody didn't have their own copy, so there'd be one reader and everyone listened to the spoken Word. So it's good to speak it aloud, not necessarily all the times you, because you could be going over this same text ten, fifteen, twenty times, but maybe the first few times to get a sense of how it sounds, how it resonates. As we reread, we seek the center or the heart of the text for us. Now there's one thing to know what the heart of the text is for the writer, for Matthew, and that's good, but we cannot ignore, I think even more importantly than that for Lectio, is what is the heart of the text for me, right now, today. And I don't mean structurally,

[37:12]

or as a piece of literature, the heart of the text. What I mean is what word or phrase really strikes me to the heart at this time in my spiritual journey. This center of the text is a gift of the Holy Spirit and is not readily apparent at first. It takes time to emerge. It is a kind of spiritual intuition which comes from God, not from pure intelligence. So all of this is just the first part of the process, just the reading of the text, the taking in of the text. These are all the things that I do. And what happens, what I discover is I start to move

[38:12]

now with the text. I'm not flipping all over the place rarely at this point now. I start to move with the text that has been enriched by these checking of different things and I enter into what we call meditatio, meditation. I begin to chew on the text, to mull it over, a word, a phrase, an image. Just as in eating we chew in order to swallow and digest, in order to taste the flavors of what we eat, in order to break open the nutrients contained in the food, so too with this part of the movement of Lectio that we call meditation. Its intent is to bring out what is hidden. So that the word that has entered here may go down and be digested

[39:13]

and be a living word. And so part of this chewing and breaking open of the word is what we call rumination, which is a repetition of the word or phrase or image. As we read in the Prophet Ezekiel chapter 2, I opened my mouth and he gave me the scroll to eat. And I ate it and it tasted sweet as honey. And so what we are doing here is an assimilation of the word and its various levels of meaning. In reading we take it in, but in meditation we chew and repeat and break open into the deeper and hidden levels beneath the obvious literal level. And the scriptures were written

[40:16]

precisely for this purpose. It is not an answer book. It is not a catechism. It is not an instruction manual. It seeks to catch hold of you and lead you into yourself and the awesome mystery of God. And as we're chewing and meditating this is what begins to happen. The word hooks us and starts leading us inward. At this point the word starts to read you. It is alive and active, working its way into you. Sometimes at this point it can start to be uncomfortable and maybe painful and disturbing. And as we read in the book of Revelations chapter 10 Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour

[41:18]

but in your mouth it will taste as sweet as honey. So the initial taking in may be sweet but as it goes down as we go down, as we let the word lead us, we may find a whole bunch of reactions going on as we take it in and chew it. It is often at this point in the engagement with the word that we're tempted to break off and escape. Perseverance here is important as is giving sufficient time for this chewing. How many times growing up we heard don't just swallow your food, chew it. How can you taste that food? Well even more so with the word of God. Here the word begins to be conceived in our heart

[42:18]

requiring ever greater opening and receptivity. The soil of our hearts must be fertile and ready and empty and waiting. And Mary is the primary model here as God's word entered deeply into her heart and became flesh. Her flesh. All wisdom was centered in her heart. She is silence listening. She treasures the word Christ in her heart. God awoke in her heart and moved within her like a giant. Christ stirred and opened his eyes and her soul saw that in containing him she contained the whole world besides. The enunciation her hearing and receiving and

[43:22]

chewing on the word was not so much a vision as one writer says as an earthquake in which God moved the universe. The beginnings and ends of all things came before her in her deepest heart. That's why Mary remains the model of the monastic life. It is for what she does with the word and what the word does with her in the divine dance. Often times at this point that we call meditation we experience the word as a plow digging deep into us. You know when you go over and over your field you're chewing and chewing going over and over words and phrases it's plowing plowing through the weeds and the rocks and the encrusted dirt or whatever

[44:23]

plowing and softening and loosening and of course all other kinds of things are loosened aren't they and come to the surface opening up uncovering unearthing it can be quite heart rendering The line of scripture comes to mind rend not your garments but rend your hearts. I'd like to stop here at this point and ask if there are any responses or questions at this point. Yes. I just have one question about how in the daily readings there are sometimes little chops of scriptures

[45:25]

one or two verses here and a couple verses here how can I read through between the two? I was just wondering what do you recommend? That's why it's not good to follow a miscellane in that sense it's better than nothing sometimes it's the way you can only get people to scripture but you've got to lead them to the original text they have no footnotes that other way they have no parallels no references nothing and they have many times selected excerpts that are thrown together in one reading and they don't have the context they can't look at what followed it what preceded it it's a lazy tool in a way you know but again as I say I'm not knocking miscellane it's better than nothing if we can get some script into people's hands but hopefully through that it would lead them to go back to the source so I don't use a miscellane of any kind and I always read the entire text that the excerpts are taken from which helps my getting a sense of the meaning of it

[46:28]

and certainly enriches it another thing I sometimes consult I have some other commentaries but I don't necessarily go to the others but on a daily basis I might just go to this one sometimes I'll consult and there are various ones out this one is by McKenzie Dictionary of the Bible and that may be as I'm mulling over a word you see it may really grab me and I want to know more about that word excuse me like we've been hearing a lot about repentance in my newsletter which you may have read well I looked up repentance in here when I was reflecting on that trying to get a little bit more and of course he gives the Old Testament and New Testament treatment of it as well as all the references in the whole Bible to repentance which I can then track down some or all or whatever if I want to so it's this is also a very helpful I don't know what I'd do without this book

[47:30]

it's a very very helpful book New American Bible has a dictionary of their Bible a much smaller thing I think this is far more thorough certainly when it came out got high praise McKenzie's Dictionary so it's very very good you can find out a whole lot about things you can find out about names and their Hebrew word like David it will give you the Hebrew and wherever it came from if it has any Greek parallels and how to pronounce it and the meaning of the word David means beloved of course I've looked up John God's graciousness, God's gift so it's one honey you hear that word a lot so he gives you the whole thing here on honey so again sometimes if in my lexio there seems to be a powerful word or image that's coming and coming and coming, I might really spend the whole day and I want to delve more

[48:31]

into it, it's just so rich that may be another way of kind of expanding my sense of that word and then bringing it back in you know, always coming back in, the purpose is not just information but to go in with it in my encounter with the Lord yes yes I was thinking during the break about your image of the dance and how for me it really resonated and I started expanding on it, thinking about dance and what happens you not only become one with the partner but you stop thinking and you become one with the music and you become all-embracing and everything happens right, if we approach lexio as the dance of course it really means our whole life just as I suppose if somebody tried to give you dance instructions and paint footprints on the dance floor and I gave you a manual you really wouldn't be dancing yet, would you?

[49:33]

you'd be a stiff stick figure there and at some point you'd try to tell the person, well just let go don't worry about your feet can't you just feel, just let it take you it's almost like an awakening when they awaken so that dance takes them dance is not something you do it's something you discover and it takes you you give yourself to the dance but when you're learning from a technical it's something we do and so that's why I've been trying to avoid this technical technique method approach to lexio and rather to get another sense of it so you get more of a feel for this intimacy with the Lord through the encounter with the text and even though there are things I look up to always keep in mind what is my purpose, not to get lost in my references what I can look up in all the meanings of a word or phrase I always bring it back to my purposes to encounter my beloved

[50:35]

I always bring it back to that what are your thoughts about doing the preliminary part research on the night before so that the next morning you're ready to move right into the morning you could do that that would be a valid way of doing it I know some people who read the text they just read the text the night before quite a few times maybe they spend 20 minutes or half an hour just slowly reading without looking up anything and then they go into sleep with it to let it work on them at deeper levels then in the morning they pick up on it and they find it somehow it's already begun working that's an interesting way of doing it too it could be very helpful I'm just trying to avoid the four o'clock oh, when I say that

[51:36]

I know I shouldn't say that I'm not trying to lay that on anybody but she's already yawning you just mentioned four o'clock you do whatever way you want to do it and again how much you look up varies, you know, some texts are far more straightforward than other texts but it's also paying attention to what's going on within you if I'm paying attention to that that should kind of lead me and what I seem to need more of because I'm just not quite getting into the text, it's very obscure for me or something and that tells me I need to look up maybe check other references that'll expand on the text for me two questions, one is the other name of the other book? Dictionary of the Bible the

[52:37]

Jerome Biblical Commentary and it's an edited book so for each book of the Bible there's a different author so it's a combined effort of scholars oh, well, you can find the citation to look up, but don't rely just on that go to your Bibles on the good study Bibles that's one or see I have a liturgical calendar little pocket calendar which has all the reading citations for the whole year it's only $1.25 but I've got pause prints that's what I use they also have what they call an ordo, but that would be harder for you to get a hold of church sacristies usually have those do you take

[53:43]

each of the daily reading as a discrete text or do you ever sometimes they're correlative and do you ever do them together or do you do the gospel reading separately and then the Old Testament yes that would be for Sunday I always start with the gospel do you ever continue with the process as one whole reading or do you do them absolutely discreetly no not absolutely discreetly begin with the gospel and then when I feel that see it's so hard to communicate this because we're talking about a discernment when I sense that I'm ready that the word is releasing me to go on I go on

[54:45]

to the next reading and then I may come back to the gospel again after going to the other two texts if it's a Sunday where we have the three but you've got to remember certainly in ordinary time the three are not chosen to fit together it's the first and the third the second has nothing to do with it sometimes it's purely accident it does so don't try to yeah but just it's important to realize that they were never chosen with that in mind except during special seasons then the three are chosen for some important bearing on one another what about during the week are those chosen yes just one more thing about quality versus quantity sometimes I've read complete books of the bible and found it very helpful is that something that you see being done outside of the field yes not that you might not trip into

[55:45]

Lectio be surprised by the spirit that could happen you're already coming with the idea of reading through to the end and automatically that is not the right attitude for Lectio you're not giving yourself permission to only go half way you're not giving the spirit permission to stop you half way see and then it's not Lectio but that doesn't mean in your plan to go through something happens half way that could happen yes and then you may stop and just stay in your wildness if you if you are so taken with a word or a phrase or an image maybe it's in the second reading or something and you get into this and go into your Lectio without then do you sometimes go back

[56:48]

and maybe find something else to meditate on within the same text I'm not sure I'm following well supposing you were reading like the one that was printed up for tomorrow's gospel on the parable of the prodigal son and you got to the place where he was in the field hungry with the pigs and this really grabbed at you and resonated and so you went deeply into this and meditated on it and then when you're done might you go back and find something toward the end at the feast or something that gives you something more to meditate on within the same text yes I'm not sure what you mean by when you're done well I mean when you're at least ready to move on it's just a sense of that that it seems sufficient you don't limit yourself to one insight per text of course not

[57:49]

I'm going for an encounter with my lord so it should be kept very fluid, very mysterious I think and we should be very free very flexible and therefore I'd have to say probably it's never quite exactly the same each time it's never quite because I'm not following a strict kind of method or something yet you can see that I do obviously follow something but I'm doing this deep listening even in what I do to be careful that it's not just a compulsion a personality compulsion going on but I have to even be listening to what am I you know reaching for to look up at this point so you can see the keeping in mind the goal the purpose is we have to always go back to this so we don't get lost in the specifics of what we're doing at that

[58:51]

particular moment because that can short circuit the Alexia anything else? yes I have the most trouble with the familiar texts I walk into it and I say oh I know what this is and I read it again and I know this and I think you're suggesting a method oops you're preparing us for a way to stay with that egotistic fashion of being with it until it dissolves and the familiar becomes unfamiliar because the familiarity is necessarily the surface of something you may be familiar with the text

[59:53]

but you are not completely familiar with the one hidden in the text you will never know that one this side of eternity completely so to keep the two in mind yes of course I may know this text inside and out but who is in this text I don't know enough yet and the promise to me is he will meet me through my engagement with the word he will rendezvous with me anything else? oh yes do you ever sometimes I read about the saints and I feel very the lights of the saints and are you related to reading about the lights of the saints any script reading to you in my field

[60:53]

in this form of reading well certainly if there is a saint for the liturgy that day I read that every day I have a little three volume edition of the saints I have to think now what do I normally do well it's not the first thing I do the first thing I do at 4 am is my lexio so it would be later that morning but before mass and then of course I may think about this person in light of the word that I've spent time with and how perhaps I see some aspect of the word in flesh in their life the witness of their life it is important to try to relate them to the word for that day and many times again many times that is related in the ones who compile the readings

[61:55]

there will be something in that word that can be related yes are you asking when you read the life of the saints to try to find what is hidden behind the word no I was asking whether you can substitute the life of the saints for the gospel I think the lexio is more for really the gospel of Christ oh yeah no other book can compare with the gospel

[62:23]