Yesterday there seemed to be confusion as to whether I’m a Benedictine Monk. I assure you I’m not, nor are my four children. My Patient Husband is not the head of our order. Our family is more like a disOrder.
Way back in the past, I found a “spiritual director” to get my back on track after I had my first Kiddo. He was high need in every sense of the definition, and I had no spiritual life for a few years. The “spiritual director” insisted that I had to spend half an hour to an hour every day in perfectly silent meditation.
I want you to think about that for a minute.
Okay, now that you’ve laughed until you have stitches in your side, dry your tears and consider more soberly what that kind of edict does to someone who’s earnestly trying to find more of God in her life, and instead she’s told to do the impossible. I did try. In my solitary half-hour of silence a day, I sacrificed whatever time I had during the Boy’s very rare, very short naps and tried to meditate, and I couldn’t do it because I was so stressed out. That’s why I always flinch when I hear an all-or-nothing approach to finding God. God’s big enough that we can find Him in many many different ways, sometimes even when we’re not looking.
Yesterday, Illya left a comment about lectio divina and the four stages, but keep in mind that after my “you MUST do this” experience, I tend to write my own ticket. With four kids, I’m lucky if I get any chance to read the Bible at all, so forcing myself to follow a pattern isn’t feasible. If you’re a busy mom too, this is what I recommend:
Try something. Anything.
Sometimes I’ll read the passage and then a Kiddo needs my help and it’s over. Sometimes I get to read it a few times. Sometimes I get an idea and I try to pray about it. Sometimes I get a really good idea and I forget it. Yesterday, I read it, held it in my head, got ideas, and journaled it. If you want to try this too, here’s an example of the kind of thing that happens, from the journal:
Today for my Bible reading I did Luke 17:5-6. It’s just a saying on faith. The apostles asked Jesus to increase their faith, and Jesus replied that if they had faith the size of a mustard seed, they “could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.'”
First off, it’s an odd way to respond. If my kids came to me and said, “Teach us to read,” I wouldn’t reply with “If you went to college, you could design rocket ships.” Jesus didn’t answer the question, only told them why they should want it more.
But maybe this is more of what I wrote in the last entry, that God won’t be pinned down. They asked to have their faith increased, but just giving it isn’t the same as making them work for it.
Second thought: look at the phrasing there. “Be uprooted and planted in the sea.” It’s passive voice. The tree would obey…what? It’s not “uproot yourself.” Who’s doing the uprooting and the new planting?
And why would my faith make something do an absurd thing? An impossible thing? Why does faith compel obedience?
Third, again on the phrasing: it’s very close to Mary’s response to Gabriel, “Be it done to me according to your word.” Mary’s faith made an absurd thing happen, God becoming man. The sea traditionally represents chaos; God entered the chaos of the world because of faith, because of love, because of one full of grace.
Fourth: how do you size faith? And was their faith too small, or did Jesus want it to get smaller and more compact and more focused? And consider what he used as metaphors. A seed, full of potential, and a tree, realized potential. Both living things, things that respond to air and light and water, and apparently also to faith.
No great answers. But then again, I’m not a Benedictine monk, either.