Benedictine Spirituality Communion Lectio Divina Prayer Scripture Uncategorized

In The House of the Lord

Today we’re celebrating the feast of the dedication of our Oratory. It’s always struck me as a time for going back to the most basic call of Benedictine life, to pray and to seek God. I find myself thinking on all the people who have joined us in our prayer through the years, in person and online. Every year I am touched by these words from the prayer of dedication printed on the front of our Vespers booklet:

“Here may prayer, the Church’s banquet, resound through heaven and earth as a plea for the world’s salvation.”

They seem to me to set the tone for the feast, reminding me that the Oratory is where our Benedictine hospitality begins. It’s the place where everyone is welcome, everyone invited to the rich banquet of prayer that is the heart of Christian life. The Oratory gives us all a place to bring the whole of our experience, our joys and sorrows, our doubts and fears into the presence of God. Drawing us together into God’s presence it allows us bear one another’s burdens and rejoice and mourn with and for each other.

It’s safe place where we can wrestle with the many challenges that the liturgy and life present, refusing, like Jacob, to let go until we receive God’s blessing. And in those times when we are too exhausted, anxious or beaten to wrestle the Oratory provides a place where we can rest, knowing we are held in the embrace of God.
Where do you feel held by God’s presence today?

Benedictine Spirituality Communion Corpus Christi Eucharist Gospel Lectio Divina Prayer Scripture Uncategorized

In the presence of the living God.

Image by Aline Ponce from Pixabay

Since we celebrated Corpus Christi on Thursday I’ve been reflecting on the nature of Eucharist. The Scripture that comes to mind is the Emmaus story. Although it’s not part of the feast’s liturgy it seems to me to capture something of its essence.

It acknowledges the despair and hopelessness of the disciples as they trudged home disappointed and unsettled by all that has happened. We can identify so strongly with those feelings in our own lives that we almost feel the weight of it all as they pour out their story to Jesus. They remind me that Eucharist offers us an opportunity to bring our brokenness, hurt and disappointment into the presence of Christ.

Jesus responds to their despair by taking them through the Scriptures already know, reminding them of the passages that speak about the Messiah. As he does this their hearts are ignited, and through their sadness they glimpse something so good that they don’t want to let it go, so they invite him to stay with them. Full recognition only dawns as they sit down to eat together and:

“He took the bread and said the blessing; then he broke it and handed it to them. And their eyes were opened, and the recognised him…”

It seems to me that the essence of the Eucharist is an invitation rediscover the reality of Christ’s presence in every part of our lives, in our liturgies, in our communities and in all our relationships.

As we celebrate the feast of Corpus Christi where do you recognise the reality of Christ’s presence in your life?