Friday, August 12, 2011

Lectio with Bartimaus

Friday, August 12, 2011 -- Week of Proper 14, Year One
Florence Nightingale, Nurse, Social Reformer, 1910

Today's Readings for the Daily Office (Book of Common Prayer, 978)
Psalms 102 (morning)      107:1-32 (evening)
2 Samuel 15:19-37
Acts 21:37 - 22:16
Mark 10:46-52

Whenever I read the story of Bartimaeus, something settles deep inside of me.  This was the story that I first used when I was taught how to pray the scriptures using the ancient Benedictine method of Lectio Divina.  The story has never been the same.  From that brief time of prayer has come a rich, luminous connection with the sacred text. 

With time and practice, more and more texts have become deeply alive through the practice of Lectio Divina.  I am convinced that it is an exquisite way to let the scriptures speak and come alive to us.

There are various ways to describe and teach Lectio.  Here's the method I use.  I'm taking this from our St. Paul's web site at this address:

This is not intended as a four-step linear process, but rather as a movement between states of consciousness. Let your practice move naturally back and forth through these moments.

I. Lectio -- Reading Deeply
Expand your sense of consciousness and focus your attention. Read one of the scripture passages in such a way to you can hear the words deeply. Let God's speaking to you through these words. Slowly read, listening deeply. If you get distracted, go back to where you were.  Hear what the scripture is saying. As you are reading, listen with your "third ear" and see with your "third eye." What catches your attention? What causes you to think or to wonder?

II. Meditatio -- Thinking Deeply
Take whatever caught your attention from your reading and think deeply and actively about it. Why did this catch my attention? What does it mean? How does it connect to the rest of the scripture and tradition? What did it mean to the first readers/listeners? Why is this important? What is it saying? Think actively and energetically. As you are thinking, listen with your "third ear" and see with your "third eye." Notice if something moves you. Be aware if you have feelings or emotional content around something.

III. Oratio -- The Prayer of the Heart
If you heart is moved or your emotions touched, go with the feelings. Let the emotional content of your thought explode into prayer. Speak to God with your heart. Let your deepest center be drawn into prayer. Offer whatever comes to Christ. Let your love speak. While you are praying, listen with your "third ear" and see with your "third eye." If your words of love begin to descend into love, let go of words, let go of thoughts, let go of emotions.

IV. Contemplatio -- Rest
Fall into love, into the silence, into the dazzling darkness that is beyond thought and feeling. Just be. And even let go of being, into the all. Let God be all. All is God and God is all. Rest.

+ + +

As you find your consciousness moving in and out of each of these moments, return to reading or thinking or feeling as seems best to you.

When your time is over, pick a brief passage or thought that may focus the content of your prayer time. Memorize or copy that thought; carry it with you during the day, and recall it from time to time. See how your prayer reveals something about what happens during you day.

If you have time, you might journal a bit about what happened during your prayer. 

You may find that you and Bartimaeus become deeply connected.  I hope so.



Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Click the following link:
Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at -- Click for online Daily Office
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location -- --  Click for Divine Hours

Discussion Blog:  To comment on today's reflection or readings, go to, or click here for Lowell's blog find today's reading, click "comment" at the bottom of the reading, and post your thoughts.

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


At 8:21 PM, Anonymous janet said...

Lovely random spiritual reading from Evening Prayer that resonates well with Bartimaeus.

Healing and Liberation - by Henri Nouwen

(Too long to post - here is the last part of it)

...Our loneliness and isolation have become so much a part of our daily experience, that we cry out for a liberator who will take us away from our misery and bring us justice and peace.

To announce, however, that the Liberator is sitting among the poor and that the wounds are signs of hope and that today is the day of liberation, is a step that very few can take. But this is exactly the announcement of the wounded healer: 'The Master is coming - not tomorrow, but today, not next year, but this year, not after all our misery has passed, but in the middle of it, not in another place but right here where we are standing.'

And we see Bartimaeus call out, spring up, and follow, as if it were the most natural action in the world...and he is free.


At 6:43 AM, Blogger Lowell said...

That is a lovely Herni Nouwen quote. For some reason it reminds me of a favorite saying of one of my friends -- "Jesus rose in the middle of the night."


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