Friday, November 6, 2009

Catholic Prayer Bible, lectio divina edition. A Benedictine oblate blog

The Catholic Prayer Bible, lectio divina edition, is expected to be published in March 2010 by Paulist Press. Thanks to the Catholic Bibles blog, I learned about the publication and called Paulist Press to inquire about the publication date.

I could not find a page about the new Bible on the Paulist Press web site, but the Catholic Bibles blog has a brief description of this new Bible which includes the comment that this is:

“An ideal Bible for anyone who desires to reflect on the individual stories and chapters of just one, or even all, of the biblical books, while being led to prayer through meditation on that biblical passage.”
Interestingly, the description of the Bible also refers to a quote from Pope Benedict XVI in 2005 that the practice of lectio divina will bring about a “new spiritual springtime.”(1) The Pope’s reference to the new spiritual springtime was the primary inspiration I used in the naming of the Oblate Spring web site.

I like reading from several Bibles and may buy this one when it is published.



Picture is 100_6182.JPG by cohdra and is subject to license.

(1) From the 40th Anniversary of the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation "Dei Verbum," 16 September 2005. Also see my About Page on the Oblate Spring web site.

Lectio divina described here.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Four reasons to have a spiritual retreat. A Benedictine oblate blog

My wife and I went on a spiritual retreat recently with a group of other Benedictine oblates at St. Leo Abbey in Florida,. Location and directions. The Friday to Sunday retreat was the best one we have had, but each one has been better than the last, no doubt a function of how we prepare and being more receptive while there.

If you have not been on a spiritual retreat, here are four reason to go:

A. Structured spiritual instruction from a wise teacher. Virtually all group spiritual retreats will offer a program of classes. Sometimes all classes will be about one theme. Sometimes the classes cover different topics. At the monastery we visit, the oblate retreats are led by the abbot whose classes of about 90 minutes each (called conferences) are all about a central topic . This gives a good immersion into the ideas and insights. But even when we are on a private retreat by ourselves without any group, my wife and I have picked our own topics and do our own studying.

B. Divine Office. Participating in the divine office with a monastic community on their schedule is something that cannot be experienced anywhere except in a monastery.

We can study on our own and talk with other oblates, but having the entire day structured in community is available only in a monastic community.

We were on our recent retreat when the USA changed its clocks from daylight saving time to standard time. However the biggest change in time zones was the change we made when we arrived on Friday in the afternoon. That’s when we went on “Monastic Standard Time.” The sense of time in relation to prayer is different at a monastery. This unique relation of life to time found at a monastery is the best reason to visit a monastery even for day trips when you can’t spend the night. Spending a good part of a day on monastic time is a unique experience.

C. Rest. Everyone can instantly see the benefit in this. Many people go on retreat and just want to sleep. Most everyone takes at least one nap between sessions. Not being engaged in your full work life for a few days is the third good reason to start planning your next retreat.

D. Other Oblates. Listening to the comments and questions from the other oblates is a special benefit of the retreat. Talking with other people who have similar spiritual interests is always an encouragement. Learn about a good book. Be encouraged by their enthusiasm.

Here’s where to find a location for your next retreat. Find a retreat location. Get ready to change your watch.



Picture is cohdranknduckcolortrail2.jpg by cohdra and is used subject to license.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pilgrims and oblates. A Benedictine oblate blog

My wife and I are back from a Benedictine oblate retreat over the weekend — Friday through Sunday evening.

Like the Mediaeval pilgrims who were told “one’s pilgrimage does not end in Santiago — it begins there”(1) we came home feeling that our spiritual retreat did not end on Sunday evening — now it begins.

We are fortunate that the conferences during the retreat were led by the abbot — the youngest abbot in the American-Cassinese Congregation of Benedictine monasteries.

When the matter is the care of souls, Benedictine abbots are a good choice. He gave much of his weekend to us and we were happy he did.

The abbot’s conferences were packed with insights from his studies on seeking and drawing closer to God, one of my favorites is from Abraham Joshua Heschel (1907-1972):

Awareness of the ineffable is where the search begins.
Mediaeval pilgrims and Benedictine oblates learn the same truth.



(1) For more information on this great pilgrim way -- even today, see my blog giving an overview: Santiago de Compostela -- The Roads that unified Europe