Two of my favorite parts of the Monastic Institute were talks given by Abbot Jerome Kodell of Subiaco, Arkansas. The first talk was called, “Praying the Bible and Praying the Word.” The point of the talk was that the Bible is not just a book we read, and that the Word of God is more than just the Bible—although it includes the Bible. We “pray” the Bible by using it for lectio divina, taking what we read and realizing its message, so that we remember and apply it to our lives as we continue to grow. Lectio divina is not the same as spiritual reading for study because in lectio divina, what we read has a connection to our hearts, not just our minds. However, lectio divina is not about reading all the time. In fact, the most powerful form of lectio can involve things other than the Bible and doing things other than reading. We can have a great session of lectio by looking at nature, or spending time with babies and children, because in them we see what God has to show us and hear what God say to us—on a whole different level. We are reminded of the awesomeness of God, or of the simplicity of God—or both. The second talk was called “The Inner Room,” which dealt with prayer and what prayer really is. We do not need to go to any specific place to go to our inner room; we just need to “be still and know that God is God”—and that we are not. We have only to want to be with God, and want what God wants—desiring God is prayer in itself. Everyone gets distracted in prayer—especially in this day and age. Even Jesus got distracted while praying sometimes, because He was a human being. But if we want to pray, and have the right attitude about it, we’ve prayed already. It is not a matter of the quantity of the time we spend, or what form of prayer we use, or the words we use, because the highest form of prayer happens without words—it is beyond words. It is a matter of making a choice to have and to build a relationship with God.
Sister Mary Carla
Sister Mary Carla Flood, OSB is a Minnesota state-licensed Master level social worker. She holds a BA in psychology and MSW both from Arizona State University. She moved to Duluth in 2007 from Phoenix while discerning with the Duluth Benedictines. She is originally from upstate New York, and grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, moving to Phoenix with her family in 1984 shortly before starting high school. She has diversified ministry experience. See all of Sister Mary Carla’s posts.