Friday, December 07, 2007

For Your Advent Meditation

The daily life of contemplative nuns centers upon communal recitation or singing of the Liturgy of the Hours (aka The Divine Office) and the celebration of the Liturgy of the Word and Eucharist. (For more information on the Liturgy of the Hours, click on that topic in the side bar.)

Today is the first Friday of the month and therefore a day of recollection for our community. We began with the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer followed by Mass at the end of which the Blessed Sacrament was left exposed on the altar for our adoration through the entire morning. This will conclude with Midday Prayer.

The second reading at the Liturgy of the Hours this morning is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful of all, from the Proslogion of St. Anselm. I offer a section of it for your Advent meditation. Its invitation is so timely in face of the realities of our time and culture. It speaks of the deepest desire of our hearts and our human resistance to God's loving invitation.

"Come now, insignificant man, fly for a moment from your affairs, escape for a little while from the tumult of your thoughts. Put aside now your weighty cares and leave your wearisome toils. Abandon yourself for a little to God and rest for a little in him.Enter into the inner chamber of your soul, shut out everything save God and what can be of help in your quest for him and having locked the door seek him out. Speak now, my whole heart, speak now to God: 'I seek your countenance, O Lord, your countenance I seek.'

Come then, Lord my God, teach my heart where and how to seek you, where and how to find you. Lord, if you are not present here, where, since you are absent, shall I look for you? On the other hand, if you are everywhere why then, since you are present, do I not see you? But surely you dwell in light inaccessible. And where is this inaccessible light, or how can I approach the inaccessible light? Or who shall lead me and take me into it that I may see you in it? Again, by what signs, under what aspect, shall I seek you? Never have I seen you, Lord my God, I do not know your face.

What shall he do, most high Lord, what shall this exile do, far away from you as he is? What shall your servant do, tormented by love of you and yet cast off far from your face? He yearns to see you and your countenance is too far away from him. He desires to come close to you, and your dwelling place is inaccessible; he longs to find you and does not know where you are; he is eager to seek you out and he does not know your countenance.

Lord, you are my God and my Lord, and never have I seen you. You have created me and recreated me and you have given me all the good things I possess, and still I do not know you. In fine, I was made in order to see you, and I have not yet accomplished what I was made for.

And you, O Lord, how long? How long, Lord, will you be unmindful of us? How long will you turn your countenance from us? When will you look upon us and hear us? When will you enlighten our eyes and show your countenance to us? When will you give yourself again to us?

Look upon us, Lord; hear us, enlighten us, show yourself to us. Give yourself to us that it may be well with us, for without you it goes so ill for us. Have pity upon our efforts and our strivings towards you, for we can avail nothing without you. Teach me to seek you, and reveal yourself to me as I seek, because I can neither seek you if you do not teach me how, nor find you unless you reveal yourself. Let me seek you in desiring you; let me desire you in seeking you; let me find you in loving you; let me love you in finding you."

St. Anselm of Canterbury, bishop : Proslogion, 1.

Prayer :
O God, You inspired St. Anselm with an ardent desire to find You in prayer and contemplation among the bustle of everyday occupations, help us to take time in the feverish rhythm of our days, among the worries and cares of modern life, for conversation with You, our only hope and salvation! We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and Holy Spirit for ever and ever. Amen

1 comment:

Dowager K said...


HOw I love his work! And his life is such a meditation.

He wanted to learn so he looked to a monastery and he studied the lot and entered the one where there was the best teacher.

The he was wanted to be Bishop in Canterbury but he did not want that role at all. He wanted to be a monk /scholar.

So there was some political pressures applied and he became Archbishop of Canterbury at a time of political tensions.

And his description of how he 'came up' the Ontological argument is one of the best descriptions of the creative process in thought that has been written [recent scientific research confirm that process as typical].

for me Anselm writes so clearly...for others....calling them to God and[but] his life is a story of the calling/living for God that parallels the thought.

Long comment...but your reflection is one of the few about Anselm I have seen in recent years and it jarred a lot of memory.