Monastic Practices – Sacred Reading

 Throughout this year, one of the Sisters is proposing a theme of monastic life to review and reflect upon each month. The images and themes are taken from Monastic Practices written in 1986 by Cistercian monk, Father Charles Cummings and illustrated by Cistercian nun, Sister M. Bernarda Seferovich. We love the illustrations! 

MonasticPracticesintroductionblog2015 MonasticPracticesintroductiontextblog2015

 Sacred Reading was our first theme to reflect upon.

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monasticpracticesreadingtextblog2015

monasticpracticesreadingtextbblog2015

The next theme will be Liturgical Prayer.

Please share how you inculcate sacred reading in your life “out in the world”. 

9 thoughts on “Monastic Practices – Sacred Reading

  1. Well… I often say the rosary on the train. Reactions from my fellow commuters range ftom the curious ( “what is that?”), to the sincere (“would you pray for ne?”), to the cruel (unprintable!). I have had people move their seat to get awAy ftom me, ask me to put thrm away, or smile. One man said it reminded h of his mother, and after we spoke for a bit he promised to call her, even though it had been do very long since they had communicated. I think the rosary brings put the best and the worst in people, because it is do very powerful.

  2. Is sacred reading the same as lectio divina? This is something I would like to develop in my own spiritual practices. I find psalms or canticles of St. Therese give me pause – I like to turn them over in my mind and experience them as mental prayer – soak them up, if you will. I don’t do this daily – only when the spirit moves me. I want to nurture it into a regular practice.

    • “Lectio Divina” literally means “Divine/Sacred Reading.” On the one hand it can be used as a general term for spiritual reading, but of late it has come to mean more specifically a specific way of praying with the Scriptures or Fathers that follows 4-5 steps: Reading (Lectio) Meditation (Meditatio) Prayer (Oratio) and Contemplation. (Contamplatio.) Pope Benedict also emphasized a fifth, “Actio” or “Operatio.” Meaning the Word must impact the way we live.
      Here are a couple good articles on that:
      http://www.focusequip.org/discover/the-catholic-life/prayer/lectio-divina-stairway-to-heaven.html

      https://www.fisheaters.com/lectiodivina.html

      I think it goes without saying that some books, though spiritual and certainly helpful/inspiring in nature, don’t really fit into those four steps. There are different types/levels of sacred reading for sure, depending on what book you are using. Its up to the individual to discern that using “Christian common sense.”
      “Help yourself by reading holy books. This reading provides excellent food for the soul and conduces to great progress along the path to perfection”
      ~St. Pio

      • Thanks so much, Brother Emmanuel, for the suggested articles. They are very informative.

  3. “Sacred reading” Is definitely essential for religious in mendicant or apostolic life as well. For myself as a Franciscan, reading and praying with Scripture and the lives and works of our Franciscan Saints, scholars, and those from many other valid traditions is a constant source of renewal for my religious life, and helps me to keep focused and humble. It “enlightens my path,” keeping me from straying and getting lazy or set in my ways. Thanks be to God for the gift of His Word and for the collective wisdom of thousands of years of holy men and women who recorded or compiled their reflections to share with us! Amen!

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