Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rule of St Benedict Reading for June 27, 2009

February 26, June 27, October 27

Chapter 20: On Reverence in Prayer

When we wish to suggest our wants to persons of high station,
we do not presume to do so
except with humility and reverence.
How much the more, then,
are complete humility and pure devotion necessary
in supplication of the Lord who is God of the universe!
And let us be assured
that it is not in saying a great deal that we shall be heard (Matt 6:7),
but in purity of heart and in tears of compunction.
Our prayer, therefore, ought to be short and pure,
unless it happens to be prolonged
by an inspiration of divine grace.
In community, however, let prayer be very short,
and when the Superior gives the signal let all rise together.

Some thoughts:

I probably have no business attempting to say anything coherent about the Rb this morning. All this past week I have been attending an icon writing workshop and as marvelous as it was, I am exhausted.

As I read this passage this morning, I am reminded of ch 7 and the lessons about humility. I am sure we have all had the experience of being in the presence of someone (or ourselves being that someone) who thinks that if they keep on piling the words, another will agree with them. When we stop to think about it in terms of practising humility, it can't be very humble to think if we could say just a few more words or repeat what we've already said one more time, the other will agree and we will have our way. I know I've been guilty of this myself. Have you?

It is worth pointing out too, that Benedict makes a distinction between group and private prayer, prayer we come up with from ourselves and that which the Holy Spirit puts in our hearts, minds and mouths. There is a place for it all in the RB just as there is a place for it all in our own lives and the life of the church of God.

There are so many wonderful ways to pray. My own form of intercession is to hold someone in my mind and then take that person with me into the Presence, offering that person to God. When I walk from point A to point B and I am alone, I pray the Jesus Prayer. There are the set prayers of my Prayerbook and the unburdening of my heart. But best of all is simply to listen in the silence.

What manner of prayer calls out to you?



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