Queen's counsel XIX

March 2003

It seems difficult to believe that I am now half way through my three-year training at Queen's – time does fly past when you’re enjoying yourself, doesn’t it?

Our middle term started with a residential weekend entitled "Meditation and Contemplation" and we were treated to a very varied selection of quiet activities.  It was suggested during the introductions on the Friday night that we should regard this as a gift, an opportunity to rest and be at one with God.  It was certainly unlike most weekends that are usually busy with quite a heavy teaching input.  If you've never experienced peace whilst being quiet and still, it is certainly worth trying – the weekend was like an oasis in the desert, a place for quiet refreshment.

One thing we encountered was Lectio Divina from the Benedictine tradition that is essentially prayerful reading.  It is based on a very short extract from the scriptures, perhaps a verse or two, which you choose and read slowly and quietly several times without attempting to respond or analyse it.  This is the first phase, becoming still in the presence of the Lord and engaging in sacred reading (lectio).

In the second phase, let any word or phrase or any image that comes to mind from the passage stay with you.  Enjoy it and feel God communicating with you now in the stillness, bringing you new insights.  This is the beginning of meditation (meditatio).  In the third phase, if distractions or current concerns come into your mind, let them mingle with the word or phrase that first attracted you and offer them to God as prayer (oratio).  Be honest and unrestrained with your thoughts – just freewheel and wait on the Lord.

The fourth phase is just being open to anything that this may lead to and trust that God will work within you, providing inspiration and perhaps some resolution to your concerns.   Now you are moving into contemplation (contemplatio), an active listening with the heart to your maker, redeemer and sustainer.  Maybe you will find it helpful to try this method out during Lent to see if this stillness bears fruit for you.  Benedict encouraged his fellow monks to follow this process each day within their rule of life.  So, let us pray:

"Lord God, the creator of all,
Before whom we bow down in worship:
Make us joyful in your presence
and do not test us beyond our enduring;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord
AMEN."



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This page was last updated on 2003-01-27


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