Moving out into the world

Unknown author supplied by a man from the Sacred Heart men’s group.

…spend time in the presence of the One. We simply allow ourselves to fill with the presence of God. In this process where our thoughts, actions, and beliefs vis-à-vis the world are our text, we do the same: Having offered up our awareness, and having listened in contemplative prayer for guidance and for gentle invitation, we can simply rest in a place of gratitude for the presence of the Divine in our lives and in the world. Emerging from this contemplation, compassion can fill our being as we become one with the broken world. In his works on lectio divina, the late Trappist monk and priest M. Basil Pennington notes, “In this encounter with God our whole being is opened up to experience the brokenness of all creation. We find ourselves united not only with God but with all who live”. This inner work (breathing in) is necessary and important preparation for the next phase of operatio, the external work of breathing out and moving into the world.

Operatio: Acting on God’s Word

This is the stage where we take our inner work into the world. “It is the moment…when we end our prayer and return to daily life”….this return to the world and to daily life is not so much ending our prayer as it is moving to a different form of prayer. It is, to continue the analogy of the breath, the completion of the breath cycle. As we move off cushion, what is Spirit inviting us to do or to be differently in response to the lectio process?…It is the time for prayer action. As a spiritual director, I cannot tell my directees what standing differently in the world might involve for them. I cannot tell them what they should do or be. I can only invite them into a process that opens them to Spirit to illumine the path…my work is simply to facilitate my spiritual directees’ openness to the invitation of Spirit to engage in the external world however the Divine invites, as part of their contemplative practice.


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