Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hermitage Time

Lectio Divina

The woman herself fled into the desert
where she had a place prepared by God.

Revelation 12:6


Continuing Day, On Pilgrimage, and Osborne, Sacramental Theology.


Today I was prayer leader for the solemnity of the Assumption of Mary, an observance celebrated by both the Eastern and Western churches. We sang more Marian hymns today than many Protestant Christians have ever sung, much less heard, in their entire lives. We sang more Marian hymns than this Catholic himself ever knew!

My education into the cult of Mary, and its place in Catholic spirituality and religiosity, continues apace with every feast and solemnity dedicated to her. I recommend the book on Mary by Megan McKenna that I read recently. I am increasingly interested in learning what Catholic women theologians and spiritual writers have to say about Mary to the world today. What does it mean to call Mary the Mother of God? The Virgin Mother? The God-bearer, or in Greek theotokos? This and a hundred other honorific titles that speak to her role in the mystery of our redemption -- our liberation and salvation. The doctrine concerning her person begs for interpretation. What does it mean to say she was conceived without the taint of original sin? What does it mean to say she was taken up body and soul into heaven at the end of her life and spared the corruption of death? How do such teachings affect the way we are to live as followers of Jesus in this generation?

This morning: more on liturgy, with a discussion of the state of the reformed liturgy nearly 50 years after the first seminal Second Vatican Council document, the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium), plus a tutorial in chapel on how to lead a service of Eucharistic adoration, popularly known as the "holy hour."

This afternoon: prayerful silence all around the friary from 1 to 5 o'clock, from the end of the lunch hour until we gather again in chapel for the office of readings and evening prayer. This period we have called "hermitage time," and we have it every Wednesday. Today during hermitage time I had my regular check-in with my formation advisor, and then I wrote three letters slowly, mindfully, almost prayerfully. I am glad I did this, but the afternoon went very quickly. I hope to "time out" a little more next week, perhaps by reading and doing mental prayer instead.

This evening: resuming kitchen cleanup duties, begun this morning. I'll be on breakfast, lunch, and dinner until the evening meal on Sunday. Next Monday and Tuesday I will help the kitchen manager set up for lunch and dinner.


Stable but occasionally temperamental in scattered areas.

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