La LD por Bernardo Olivera

ex Abad General Bernardo Olivera ocso

Orden de san Benito

Lectio Divina

1993

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Bernardo Olivera sobre Lectio Divina

Bien, suficiente de preámbulos. Deseo ahorrarles la fatiga y el tedio de un documento extenso. Por eso he escrito lo que sigue en la forma de breves máximas o sentencias. Confío que les resultará más provechoso y quizá más pedagógico.

Sigo así el ejemplo de los antiguos escritores espirituales. Muchos de ellos estaban acostumbrados a redactar sus trabajos en forma de sentencias, hilvanadas por un tema central. La sentencia es un breve y sucinto dicho que ofrece un aviso y una regla de vida, o expresa doctrina, reglas de comportamiento y buen sentido (para discernir), y en el mejor de los ejemplos, sabiduría. Pero para que la sentencia comunique sabiduría es necesario que el que escribe y los que leen, sientan y saboreen el gusto de lo que hacen y viven.

PRELUDIO

1. El Espíritu inspiró la Escritura, por eso: está presente y habla por medio de ella. Si inspira, también expira.

2. Las Escrituras respiran vida por la inspiración del Espíritu, por eso ellas son la respiración del monje cristiano.

3. Todo lo de este libro vivo converge en Cristo. Las divinas Escrituras son un solo libro: Cristo. Él es la Palabra abreviada, viva y eficaz.

4. Toda la Escritura apunta al misterio de Cristo: prefigurado en el Antiguo Testamento y presente en el Nuevo, interiorizado por cada cristiano y consumado en la gloria.

5. Porque Dios es infinito, también su Palabra es infinita: la Escritura guarda infinitos misterios, su sentido es insondable.

6. El sentido literal del texto es siempre el punto de partida: la letra revela los hechos y presenta las personas, la historia es el fundamento.

7. El Espíritu nos lleva más allá de la letra, nuestra vida teologal nos abre las puertas del sentido:

  • Alegórico, que construye la fe a través del descubrimiento de Cristo y su Iglesia.
  • Tropológico, que nos enseña a obrar en la verdad del amor.
  • Analógico, que nos muestra y atrae hacia lo que anhelamos.

8. El Evangelio es la boca de Cristo siempre pronta a ofrecernos un beso de eternidad.

9. El Evangelio es el cuerpo y la sangre de Cristo, orarlo y vivirlo es comerlo y beberlo.

10. El Evangelio es el poder de Dios porque nos indica el camino y nos da la fuerza para seguirlo.

11. ¡Aquí se encuentra vida verdadera, y mi espíritu no tiene ni desea otra cosa que la lectura orante de estos misterios!

12. La Iglesia es la única caja de resonancia de la Palabra de Dios. Porque es el Cuerpo de Cristo, ella misma es también Palabra. La Escritura nos da vida en el Espíritu cuando es recibida en el ámbito de la tradición y el magisterio.

13. Nuestra Lectio Divina debe prolongar la Palabra más allá de la Liturgia a fin de prepararnos para una más fructuosa celebración de la misma.

14. El cenobita entiende el significado profundo de la Palabra solamente cuando vive en comunión y concordia con sus hermanos.

15. La conversatio monástica debe crear un clima bíblico que permita a todos y a cada uno ser protagonistas en el diálogo de la salvación.

16. El humus de la humildad es la buena tierra en la cual la Palabra produce fruto abundante.

17. Sólo recibe quien es recogido, sólo en silencio es escuchado el latido del corazón de Dios.

18. Hablamos a Dios cuando oramos con amor, escuchamos a Dios cuando leemos su Palabra con fe.

19. Cuando estemos “clavados” al Libro por nuestra perseverancia y asiduidad en la Lectio, entonces comprenderemos la locura del buen Dios.

20. Para conocer a Cristo crucificado debemos estar crucificados para el mundo.

21. “Aquí estoy, escriba Dios en mí lo Él quiera”, dijo María. Cuando el corazón es una carta escrita por Dios, todas las cartas de Dios resuenan en el corazón.

22. El que vive la Buena Noticia ofrece al mundo razones para vivir y morir.

Primer Movimiento: riposato

1. La Lectio divina es…

  • Una lectura meditada, sobre todo de la Biblia, prolongada en oración contemplativa.
  • Una lectura acerca de Dios con ojos de esposa y corazón de Iglesia.
  • Una lectura gratuitamente hecha en orden a gratuitamente recibir al Autor de la gracia.
  • Una lectura transformante que nos evangeliza haciéndonos evangelizadores.
  • Una relación interpersonal en la fe y el amor, con Cristo quien nos habla, en el Espíritu quien nos enseña, y bajo la constante mirada del Padre quien nos estima.
  • Una peregrinación de las palabras hacia el Misterio de la Palabra.
  • Una lenta asimilación de la Verdad que salva en diálogo con el Salvador.
  • Una fe enamorada que busca el Rostro de Dios en orden a anticipar lo anhelado.
  • Inmersión, compenetración, divinización, emersión.

2. La Lectio es divina:

  • en cuanto a que Dios es leído en su Palabra y con su Espíritu.
  • porque somos conducidos ante el Misterio y éste es hecho presente en el corazón.
  • cuando Dios, quien habla, es escuchado y su presencia gustada.

3. Porque la Lectio Divina es diálogo es por lo tanto acogida, donación y comunión. Acogida por la atención y reflexión; donación a través de nuestra respuesta; comunión a través del encuentro.

4. Miriam de Nazaret, en diálogo con Gabriel, nos ofrece un cautivante ejemplo de Lectio vere divina [Lectio verdaderamente divina].

5. Porque la Lectio Divina es vida es también movimiento. Movimiento en el que se pueden distinguir diferentes momentos o experiencias: lectura, meditación, oración, contemplación…

6. Lectura, meditación, oración, contemplación… es lo que normalmente sucede cuando le damos tiempo para que suceda.

7. La gratuidad de la Lectio Divina es diferente a la utilidad del estudio. El estudio se esfuerza por dominar la palabra, la Lectio Divina se entrega y cede ante ella.

8. La Lectio Divina difiere también de la lectura espiritual. Esta última puede tener como su fin la adquisición de conocimiento, la formulación de convicciones o el estímulo para una entrega generosa. El fin de la primera es la unión con Dios en la fe y el amor.

Segundo Movimieto: coraggioso ed ampio ma non troppo

1. La Lectio Divina no es, como regla, inmediatamente gratificante. Es un proceso activo y pasivo de larga duración. ¡No se cosecha al día siguiente de la siembra! ¡El gusano no se transforma instantáneamente en una mariposa!

2. No hay nada tan purificante como aguantar el silencio de la Palabra. Pero quien sabe esperar cosecha la recompensa.

3. Si permites tú mismo ser poseído por la Palabra, escucharás hasta su silencio.

4. En la Lectio Divina hay también lugar para los Padres de la Iglesia y del Císter, sus escritos confirman y amplían el mensaje bíblico; por su espíritu cristiano son guías seguros de interpretación correcta; y por su santidad de vida nos enseñan como vivir y nos ayudan a comunicarnos en el Espíritu Santo.

5. Otros libros son de ayuda en la medida en que nos permitan asimilar el Misterio y ser transformados por él.

6. Cuando el principiante dice: para mí todo es Lectio Divina; se ha de entender que para él la Lectio Divina es un sin sentido.

Tercer Movimiento: adagio però continuo

1. Presta atención: ¡es Dios quien desea hablarte y aguarda tu contestación!

2. Las diferentes experiencias o momentos de la Lectio Divina van juntos en un solo movimiento del espíritu. Pueden coexistir y mutuamente sobreponerse, hasta pueden alternarse en un orden siempre cambiante. El caminante hace muchos movimientos, pero todos van juntos en una sola acción: caminar.

3. La práctica asidua reduce la rigidez. Quien la ejercita poco, incrementa la rigidez y hace pocos progresos. Quien no se ejercita, no avanza.

4. La Lectio Divina es una práctica cotidiana para el monje y la monja, a una hora privilegiada, todo el tiempo necesario para dar lugar a un diálogo con el más fiel de los amigos.

LECTURA

1. Leer es una forma de escucha que permite siempre poder volver a lo que fue escuchado. Y escuchar es ser y dejar ser, sin escucha no hay relación interpersonal.

2. Si lees por leer y no porque debes leer, entonces tu lectura es serena, reposada y desinteresada.

3. No pierdas tiempo buscando un texto agradable, determina el texto de antemano, quizás las lecturas litúrgicas del día, o sigue algún tema, o una lectura consecutiva de toda la Biblia.

4. El necio cae en la tentación de decir: ¡ya conozco este texto! El hombre sabio sabe que una cosa es conocer la fórmula química del agua y otra saborearla junto a un manantial en un mediodía de verano.

5. Si no entiendes lo que estás leyendo, pide ayuda al Señor para entender. Y puedes ayudar al Señor: si lees el texto en su contexto, si lo comparas con textos paralelos, si encuentras las palabras clave, si determinas el mensaje central…

6. Si has leído bien serás capaz de decir lo que el texto quiere significar.

MEDITACIÓN

1. Meditar es masticar y rumiar, pues es: repetir, reflexionar, recordar, interpretar, penetrar… Quien así medita la Palabra se transforma según la Palabra y se convierte en mediador de la Palabra.

2. Si el texto leído no te dice nada, ama a la Palabra más allá de las palabras y no temas entregarte sin reservas. Y si el texto es duro y se lo aplicas a tu vecino, procura releerlo en primera persona.

3. No hay meditación sin distracción. Vuelve entonces a la lectura. Concéntrate en las palabras clave.

4. Cuando el texto habla a tu corazón, has alcanzado y recibido un precioso fruto de la meditación.

ORACIÓN

1. La oración, durante la Lectio Divina, puede tomar varias formas: alabanza, petición, acción de gracias, compunción…

2. Habiendo escuchado leyendo y meditando puedes ya hablar orando. Si ya sabes lo que el texto dice y lo que te dice: ¿qué le dices a Él?

3. El silencio puede también ser una respuesta, tanto para aquel que ora, llevada a cabo por él mismo, cuanto para Aquel que todo lo sabe.

CONTEMPLACIÓN

1. Contemplar es hacer silencio y gozar en el Templo que es Cristo Resucitado.

2. Contemplar es encontrar la Palabra, más allá de las palabras.

3. Contemplar es vivir en el Resucitado, enraizado en el aquí de esta tierra, arrojado hacia el más allá de los cielos.

4. La contemplación es visión. El contemplativo ve la resurrección en la cruz, la vida en la muerte, ve al Resucitado en el Crucificado.

5. La contemplación es la sed causada por la ausencia aparente o la saciedad de la mutua presencia.

6. El contemplativo se queda sin palabras, simplemente porque él comprende.

Cuarto Movimiento: codetta

COLLATIO

1. La collatio es contribución o aporte, confrontación o diálogo. Es proveer combustible para la meditación, fuego para la oración, luz para la contemplación, motivación para la acción…

ACCIÓN

1. La acción se refiere, ante todo, a la conversión del propio corazón, actuando como discípulo y bajo la disciplina de la Verdad revelada para nuestra Salvación.

COLABORACIÓN

1. Toda obra buena es en colaboración con Aquél que todo lo hace bien. Quien colabora con Él trabaja y ora con todos.

POSTLUDIO

1. La Biblia no está sólo destinada a informarnos sobre Dios sino a transformarnos según la forma de Cristo.

2. La Escritura es la palabra que informa dándonos la forma de los cristianos.

3. La concepción virginal de la Virgen Madre es un misterio de redención y también modelo para la imitación: concebir la Palabra en el seno del corazón, abrazar la voluntad del Padre nos convierte en hermano, hermana y madre.

4. La Palabra y las palabras son para el hombre y no el hombre para las palabras porque el hombre es para la Palabra.

5. El que ha progresado en la Lectio experimenta la necesidad de menos palabras y más de la Palabra.

6. El que ha sido transformado por la Palabra podrá leerla en los acontecimientos de cada día y en aquellos signos de los tiempos que son voces de Dios manifestadas mediante las más hondas aspiraciones humanas.

7. Quien ya tiene la verdad revelada grabada en las más secretas profundidades de su corazón no depende del texto sagrado y es para otros una Biblia viviente.

8. Si deseas conocer y alcanzar a Cristo lo conseguirás mucho antes siguiéndolo a Él que leyéndo acerca de Él.

Habiendo arribado a este punto en la carta soy conciente de que he escrito más de lo que pretendía pero ciertamente mucho menos de lo que el tema merece. Hay muchos aspectos de la Lectio Divina que han debido quedar afuera, y otros que yo nunca experimenté.

Sabemos que uno de nuestros “vicios” capitales es el activismo…

Conozco un arma poderosa para atacar y conquistar el mayor antinatural activismo: el equilibrio y la alternancia entre Lectio Divina, liturgia y trabajo. Y la mejor manera de salvaguardar este equilibrio es dar a la Lectio Divina un lugar prioritario.¡Credete expertibus! [¡Confien en los expertos!]

Bernardo Olivera

Abad General

Carta puesta en argentino por el blogger desde original inglés. (posteado aquí abajo)

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The Order of  Saint Benedict

Lectio Divina

Bernardo Olivera on Lectio Divina

January 26, 1993

My dear Brothers and Sisters:

I trust that this new year will be a year of grace for all of you. The Lord gives himself without measure to those who have infinite desires. Let us pray for one another that the divine action may not be in vain in us.

In my circular letter of last year I presented the Good News of the Schola Caritatis in the context of the New Evangelization. My intention was, at the same time, to say something about monastic contemplative identity; or, better yet, attempt to conceptualize my own experience in order to communicate it to you.

Once again, I wish to thank those who have written to me sharing their reactions and reflections. I renew, through this letter, my invitation to dialogue and to a sharing of the gifts the Lord gives us.

I would like today, in the context of the Gospel of the School of Charity, to offer you some thoughts concerning Lectio Divina.

I consider that the two pillars of our contemplative life are: the Eucharist, the Opus Dei, Lectio Divina, and Intentio Cordis; and these pillars are set upon the foundation of asceticism, work and solitude; all being dynamized by the prudent alternation of these exercitia, in the ambitus of a communion of love and convergent pluralism. Not being able to include everything in one letter I will focus on Lectio.

I am very much aware that two of my predecessors have written on this most outstanding exercise of our monastic conversatio. It is not possible to improve on what has been written. Nor do I think that I can say anything diverse, but I assure you that neither will it be adverse.

In his 1978 letter Dom Ambrose said to us: “If we succeed in developing the practice of lectio it will have far-reaching effects on the quality of our monastic life and the contemplative dimension of our monasteries will be enriched.” When I read those words then I could sense and sound all the truth contained in them. Today, being more convinced than ever, I am their spokesman.

Well, enough of preambles. I want to spare you the fatigue and annoyance of a long and wide-ranging document. For this reason I have written what follows in the form of brief maxims or sententiae. I trust that this will prove more profitable and, perhaps, more pedagogical.

I follow in this the examples of the ancient spiritual writers. Many of them were accustomed to draft their works in sentence-form, each conveying a central theme. The sentence is a brief and succinct saying offering advice and a rule for living, or shows forth doctrine, morals and good sense, and, in the best examples, wisdom. But for the sentence to convey wisdom it is necessary that he who writes and they who read feel and savor the taste of what they do and live.

PRELUDE

1. The Spirit inspired the Scriptures, therefore: it is present and speaks through them. If it breathes in, it also breathes out.

2. The Scriptures breathe life by the inspiration of the Spirit, that is why they are the breath of the Christian monk.

3. All of this living book converges on Christ. The Divine Scriptures are one book only: Christ. He is the concise, living and efficacious Word.

4. All Scripture points to the mystery of Christ: prefigured in the Old Testament and present in the New, interiorized by each Christian and consummated in glory.

5. Because God is Infinite, his Word is also Infinite: Scripture enshrines infinite mysteries, its meaning is unfathomable.

6. The literal meaning of the text is always the point of departure: the letter reveals the deeds and presents the persons, history is the foundation.

7. The Spirit takes us beyond the letter, our theological life opens the doors of meaning to us:

  • Allegorical, building faith through the discovery of Christ and his Church.
  • Tropological, teaching us to act in the truth of love.
  • Analogical, showing us and drawing us towards that for which we yearn.

8. The Gospel is the mouth of Christ, ever-ready to offer to us the kiss of eternity.

9. The Gospel is the body and blood of Christ, to pray and live it is to eat and to drink it.

10. The Gospel is the power of God because it shows us the way and gives us the strength to follow it.

11. Herein is found true life, and my spirit neither has nor desires anything but the prayerful reading of these mysteries!

12. The Church is the only sounding-board of the Word of God. Because she is the Body of Christ, she herself is also the Word. Scripture gives us life in the Spirit, when received in the ambitus of tradition and magisterium.

13. Our Lectio Divina should prolong the Word beyond the Liturgy in order to prepare us for a more fruitful celebration of the same.

14. The cenobite understands the profound meaning of the Word only when living in communion and concord with his brothers.

15. Monastic conversatio should create a biblical climate allowing each and all to be protagonists in the dialogue of salvation.

16. The humus of humility is the good soil in which the Word produces abundant fruit.

17. Only he receives who is recollected, only in silence is heard the beating of the heart of God.

18. We speak to God when we pray with love, we hear God when we read his Word with faith.

19. When we are “nailed” to the Book through our perseverance and assiduity in Lectio, then we will comprehend the folly of the good God.

20. To know Christ crucified we must be crucified to the world.

21. “Here I am, may God write in me what he wills,” said Mary. When the heart is a letter written by God, all of God’s letters resound in the heart.

22. He who lives the Good News offers the world reasons to live and die.

First Movement: riposato

1. Lectio Divina is:

  • A meditated reading, above all of the Bible, prolonged in contemplative prayer.
  • A reading about God with the eyes of a spouse and the heart of the Church.
  • A reading gratuituously made in order to gratuitously receive the Author of grace.
  • A transformative reading that evangelizes us, making us evangelizers.
  • An interpersonal relationship in faith and love, with Christ who speaks to us, in the Spirit who teaches us, and under the gaze of the Father who regards us.
  • A pilgrimage of words towards the Mystery of the Word.
  • A slow assimilation of saving Truth whilst in dialogue with the Savior.
  • An enamoured faith that seeks the Face of God in order to anticipate what is yearned for.
  • Immersion, compenetration, divinization, emersion.

2. Lectio is divina:

  • for God is read in his Word and with his Spirit.
  • because we are brought before the Mystery and it is made present in the heart.
  • when God who speaks is heard and his presence tasted.

3. Because Lectio Divina is dialogue it is therefore reception, self-gift and communion. Reception by attention and reflection; self-gift through our response, communion through encounter.

4. Miriam of Nazareth, in dialogue with Gabriel, offers us a captivating example of Lectio vere divina.

5. Because Lectio Divina is life it is also movement. Movement in that different moments or experienced can be discerned: reading, meditation, prayer, contemplation …

6. Reading, meditation, prayer, contemplation …  is what normally occurs when we give it time to happen.

7. The gratuity of Lectio Divina is different from the utility of study. Study endeavers to master the word, Lectio Divina surrenders and yields before it.

8. Lectio Divina also differs from spiritual reading. The last can have as its end the acquisition of knowledge, the formulation of convictions or the stimulus for generous self-giving. The aim of the former is union with God in faith and love.

Second Movement: coraggioso ed amplio ma non troppo

1. Lectio Divina is not, as a rule, immediately gratifying. It is an active and passive process of long duration. One does not reap the day following the sowing! The worm is not instantly transformed into a butterfly!

2. There is nothing as purifying as enduring the silence of the Word. But all who know how to wait reap the reward.

3. If you allow yourself to be possessed by the Word, you will hear even his silence.

4. In Lectio Divina there is also room for the Fathers of the Church and Citeaux, their writings confirm and amplify the biblical message; because of their Christian spirit they are sure guides of correct interpretation; and by their holiness of life, they teach us how to live, and help us to commune in the Holy Spirit.

5. Other books are helpful in the measure that they allow us to assimilate the Mystery and be transformed by it.

6. When the beginner says: for me, everything is Lectio Divina; it is to be understood that for him Lectio Divina is meaningless.

Third Movement: adagio però continuo

1. Pay attention: it is God who wishes to speak to you and awaits your reply!

2. The various experiences or moments of Lectio Divina come together in one movement of the spirit. They can co-exist and mutually overlap, they can even alternate in an ever-changing order. The pedestrian makes many movements, but all come together in one action: walking.

3. Assiduous practice lessens rigidity. He who exercises little increases rigidity and makes slow progress. He who does not exercise does not advance.

4. Lectio Divina is a daily practice for the monk and nun at a privileged hour, all the time that is necessary to bring about a dialogue with the most faithful of friends.

READING

1. Reading is a form of listening that allows of always being able to return to what was heard. And listening is being and letting be; without listening, there is no interpersonal relationship.

2. If you read to read and not to have read, then your lectio is serene, restful and disinterested.

3. Do not waste time in looking for a text that is pleasing, choose your text beforehand, perhaps the day’s liturgical readings, or follow some theme, or a consecutive reading of the whole Bible.

4. The fool falls into the temptation of saying: I already know this text! The wise man knows that it is one thing to know the chemical formula of water and another to savour it by a spring on a summer’s day.

5. If you do not comprehend what you are reading, ask the Lord to help you to understand. And you can help the Lord by: if you read the text in its context, compare it with parallel texts, find the key words, determine the central message…

6. If you have read well, you will be able to say what the text means.

MEDITATION

1. To meditate is to chew and ruminate, for it is to: repeat, reflect, remember, interpret, penetrate… One who thus meditates on the Word is transformed according to the Word and becomes a mediator of the Word.

2. If the text read means nothing to you, love the Word beyond the words and do not hesitate to surrender yourself without reserve. And if the text is a hard saying and you apply it to your neighbor, try re-reading it in the first person.

3. There is no meditation without distraction. Return, then, to the reading. Concentrate on the key words.

4. When the text speaks to your heart, you have reached and received a precious fruit of meditation.

PRAYER

1. Prayer during Lectio Divina can take many forms: praise, petition, thanksgiving, compunction…

2. Having listened by reading and meditation, you can now speak in prayer. If you know what the text says and what it says to you: what do you say to Him?

3. Silence can also be a response, as much for the one who prays, carried out of himself, as for Him who knows all.

CONTEMPLATION

1. To contemplate is to take silent delight in the Temple which is the Risen Christ.

2. To contemplate is to encounter the Word, beyond words.

3. To contemplate is to live in the Risen One, rooted in the now of this earth, reaching out to the beyond of the heavens.

4. Contemplation is vision. The contemplative sees the resurrection in the cross, life in death, the Risen One in the Crucified.

5. Contemplation is the thirst caused by the seeming absence or the satiety of mutual presence.

6. The contemplative is at a loss for words, simply because he knows.

Fourth Movement: codetta

COLLATIO

1. Collatio is contribution or provision, confrontation or dialogue. It is to provide fuel for meditation, fire for prayer, light for contemplation, motivation for acts…

ACTION

1. Action refers, before all, to the conversion of one’s heart, behaving as a disciple and under the discipline of the Truth revealed for our salvation.

COLLABORATION

1. Every good work is in collaboration with the One who does all things well. He who collaborates with Him works and prays with all.

POSTLUDE

1. The Bible is not intended only to tell us about God but to transform us according to the form of Christ.

2. Scripture is the word that informs, giving us the form of Christians.

3. The virginal conception of the Virgin Mother is a mystery of redemption and also a model for imitation: conceiving the Word in the womb of the heart, embracing the will of the Father, makes us brother, sister, and mother.

4. The Word and the words are for man, and not man for the words, because man is for the Word.

5. He who has progressed in Lectio Divina experiences the need for fewer words and more of the Word.

6. He who has been transformed by the Word can read it in the events of each day, and in those signs of the times which are voices of God manifested through the deepest human aspirations.

7. He who has revealed truth engraven in the innermost depths of his heart, does not depend on the sacred text and is for others a living Bible.

8. If you want to know and reach Christ, you will arrive at it much sooner by following him than by reading about him.

Having arrived at this point in the letter I realize that I have written more than I had intended to, but certainly much less than the subject deserves. There are many aspects of Lectio Divina that have been left out, and others that I have never experienced.

We all know that one of our capital “vices” is activism. Dom Gabriel had already mentioned this in 1955, and in the house reports of the last General Chapter it appeared with great frequency. We are dealing with a pernicious vice, for it unsettles monastic otio, shatters the desire for eternal life, interferes with the continual search for the face of God and alters, finally, the very nature of contemplative life.

I know of a powerful weapon with which to attack and conquer this most unnatural activism: the equilibrium and alternation between Lectio Divina, liturgy and work. And the best way to safeguard this equilibrium is to give Lectio Divina a place of priority. Credete expertibus!

Allow me to share some words of Gilbert, abbot of Hoyland, that challenged me deeply during my first years of monastic life, and have preserved for me until the present all of their prophetic weight.

You, who pray on the run but dally with books, you who are fervent in reading and lukewarm in praying. Reading should serve prayer, should dispose the affections, should neither devour the hours nor gobble up the moments of prayer. When you read you are taught about Christ, but when you pray you join him in familiar colloquy. How much more enchanting is the grace of speaking with him than about him! (Serm. Cant. VII:2)

But, actually, the great master of Lectio is William, abbot of Saint Thierry http://www.osb.org/lectio/thierry.html [1].

His prayed meditations are an eloquent testimony to his application to lectio and to his heart, full of desire and divine contemplation. Put yourselves under his tutelage and he, as a good disciple of the one only Teacher, will make masters of you.

This letter has no conclusion. It is each of you who must continue it. But, please, let no one bring it to a close. Let us leave it unfinished, as a sign of the search that is to continue until it ends in Infinity.

I ask your prayers, assuring you of a constant remembrance in the sacrifice of my own. With a fond embrace, in Mary of St. Joseph.

Bernardo Olivera

Abbot General

 [1] William of St. Thierry on Lectio Divina

§ 120. [A]t fixed hours time should be given to certain definite reading. For haphazard reading, constantly varied and as if lighted on by chance does not edify but makes the mind unstable; taken into the memory lightly, it goes out from it even more lightly. But you should concentrate on certain authors and let your mind grow used to them.

§ 121. The Scriptures need to be read and understood in the same spirit in which they were written. You will never enter into Paul’s meaning until by constant application to reading him and by giving yourself to meditation you have imbibed his spirit. You will never understand David until by experience you have made the very sentiments of the psalms your own. And that applies to all Scripture. There is the same gulf between attentive study and mere reading as there is between friendship and acquaintance with a passing guest, between boon companionship and chance meeting.

§ 122. Some part of your daily reading should also each day be committed to memory, taken as it were into the stomach, to be more carefully digested and brought up again for frequent rumination; something in keeping with your vocation and helpful to concentration, something that will take hold of the mind and save it from distraction.

§ 123. The reading should also stimulate the feelings and give rise to prayer, which should interrupt your reading: an interruption which should not so much hamper the reading as restore to it a mind ever more purified for understanding.

§ 124. For reading serves the purpose of the intention with which it is done. If the reader truly seeks God in his reading, everything that he reads tends to promote that end, making the mind surrender in the course of the reading and bring all that is understood into Christ’s service.

From: William of Saint Thierry (d. 1148), The Golden Epistle: A Letter to the Brethren at Mont Dieu 1.120-124, trans. Theodore Berkeley, The Works of William of St. Thierry, Cistercian Fathers 12 (Spencer, Mass.: Cistercian Publications, 1971) 51-52. In the Migne Patrologia Latina, volume 184, this would be Book 1, paragraph 31.

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