Tuesday, May 13, 2014

A Nudge from the Pope

A recent "tweet" by the Pope reads:
Let us read the Gospel, a small section each day. This way we will learn what is most essential in our lives: love and mercy.

Good advice. It can be hard to to take in the meaning of large sections of the Gospel all at once and it's also a good daily discipline to establish a routine of reading the scriptures.

Pope Francis may be a Jesuit and have taken the name of the great founder of the Franciscan order, but his advice is very Benedictine. In his "Rule" (the little book which Benedictines to this day base their lives on) St. Benedict asks that we each spend part of the day in holy reading. This practice is known by its Latin name, lectio divina, and it has become a very particular way of reading the scriptures to hear God's voice. First we read a passage slowly and carefully to get the meaning; then we read it again and see what word or phrase speaks to us; lastly, we spend time in silent prayer pondering what God is saying to us now in this word or phrase. It's a way to spend time listening specifically to what God is asking or telling me today; it's a way to keep God's word fresh and active in my life.

Lectio divina is a real gift but, like any practice that we do regularly, it can seem to become just part of a routine. I'm grateful to Pope Francis for his "tweet" because it's reminded me that St. Benedict didn't ask me to do holy reading every day simply to keep me occupied but to keep me in touch with God, the gifts of love and mercy in my life, and my responsibility, as a Christian, to treat others with that same love and mercy.

Pope Francis, I want to thank you for that gentle nudge!

Karen Rose, OSB

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