The novice approached the Novice Mistress and asked, “May I knit while I pray?”
“No,” the Novice Mistress answered. “You must pray when you pray.”
A while later, the novice again approached the Novice Mistress. “May I pray while I knit?”
“Of course,” the Novice Mistress replied. “You must pray always.”
Lectio Divina is an ancient prayer method which is part of my Parish Lenten program this year and is a method of prayer I have used for many years. I don’t remember exactly when I learned it, maybe thirty years ago, but it suits me.
I think of Lectio Divina as a combination of time spent in silence, meditating on the Word of God, and of time spent in daily life, still meditating on the Word of God. Whatever word God speaks to me during my morning prayer, I take with me throughout the day. The practice of repeating a word or phrase from Scripture keeps me in conversation with God as I go about my life.
Being familiar with Lectio Divina, I offered to lead the prayer times during our Parish Lenten program. Stepping up like this is just the kind of thing I have usually resisted. Fear has prevented me from offering. I am the person who does not ask questions during Q&A sessions or contribute much to group discussions. I fear saying the wrong thing and looking foolish. Fear is a powerful paralyzer.
But my Lenten plans included identifying my fears and bringing them to God for healing. Setting this as my intention has kept it on my mind and in my prayer. And seeing the opportunity to share something I know and love (Lectio Divina) seemed like an invitation from God to face my fears.
We are praying with the Scriptures of the coming Sunday; this week, we prayed with Romans 5:1-2, 5-8. “Poured out” was the phrase that caught my attention. Poured out, I repeated to myself.
A memory from work popped into my mind.
The previous day, I had facilitated the women’s cancer support group. By the end of the group session, I felt poured out—so much sharing, so many emotions.
I continued pondering what had happened during that session, and I realized it was not me who had been poured out. I was merely a spectator while others shared their fears and hopes.
I have been poured out in the past, living in that liminal space where I am aware of my vulnerability and know my total dependence on God. Being poured out is immediate and visceral.
At prayer the next morning, the phrase at a distance caught my attention in two separate places—Peter following after Jesus’ arrest and the Israelites when Moses climbed Mount Sinai. They were afraid, and they kept their distance.
These two phrases stand in contrast—poured out and at a distance.
My prayer is to grow in trust so that my fears diminish and I can again be poured out.