Sr. Grace Kowalski, OSB, of St. Benedict`s Monastery in Winnipeg, Manitoba, introduced me to lectio divina prayer many years ago. She was always extolling its simple method, its personal dialogue with God, and the need for a regular, daily practise. An excellent teacher, her enthusiasm and passion was contagious. I quickly fell in love with this prayer form. But, discipline and I are pathetic partners. As with Lenten penances, I start out with good intentions but my energy fizzles a short distance from the start line.
But Grace had an idea. Why don`t we share our daily lectio reflections and prayers via email? I was intrigued. I was already using the computer for studies and communicating around the world. I knew the power of the internet for sharing ideas and forming friendships. Why not use it for sharing prayer?
And so it began. Grace sent an email with a simple line or phrase from the daily readings. Sometimes she explained her reflection in a sentence or two. And then she shared a prayer. This was simple. I could do this! The daily prayer sharing began. Our styles were different. Too often, I rambled on at length. Grace had a poet`s heart and economy of words. She loved the Psalms, and her prayer often focused on a single word or image. In a few lines, she unpacked the ordinary and showed the deep wisdom within.
I slowly began settling into the daily routine. I likened it to having a jogging partner. If you run by yourself, it`s easy to roll over in bed and grab a few extra winks. One missed day turns into another. And, before you know it the discipline is lost. But, if you know that a friend is waiting at the door with her sneakers on, there`s an extra incentive to get up and going. I knew that when I turned on my computer, Grace`s email would be the first message in my inbox. And, I better have a prayer to respond with!
Grace died almost two years ago. I still miss her terribly. For many weeks, I dreaded turning on my computer – knowing that her daily emails were no longer coming. Yet, I know that her prayers continue. I was asked to prepare the Intercessory Prayers for her funeral. I didn`t know how I could do this -so, I didn`t. I let Grace pray for us. I went back to the computer and collected some of her prayers, and together we prayed her words…simple words that soared from a listening heart.
(tomorrow – lectio divina – a dialogue in community)
4 thoughts on “lectio divina – a dialogue with a prayer partner”
Here is a little teaching on “How Do I Pray?” by
Brother David Steindl-Rast, OSB that I think compliments Lectio Divina.
Sr. Grace would be so pleased that you are continuing your lectio. She was a marvelous friend to all and is missed dearly by her own community (as each of their members is missed). St. Benedict’s, Winnipeg is celebrating their 100th anniversary next year – August 19th. The best thing we can all do to honour Grace and all of the community – is to share in assisting others to pray and to understand The Rule of St. Benedict for all of us as laity and to share our gifts, time and talents with the community into the future. My Primate shared the other day – that he too needs a religious community to go to and be with – to be renewed and receive helpful spiritual direction.
Thank you so much for reading and commenting so beautifully on this post, Sue. I’m always happy to meet a friend of our dear Grace, and all the good women of St. Ben’s. The Benedictines know how to celebrate a jubilee well. The centennial is bound to be a grand party of thankfulness for the past and present…and hope for the future.
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