Search This Blog

Monday, November 25, 2013

A short introduction to spiritual reading

Torrent: a swift, violent stream--like an Oregon waterfall--rushing along and spreading with "impetuosity and abundance."
Continuing a thematic approach, from standing firm like a rock in a mountain torrent to another kind of torrent. This post introduces a simple way to read the classic devotional works by Christian writers through the ages.
  “God’s grace is like a torrent.  When it is stopped from taking its ordinary course, it looks for another outlet, and when it finds one, it spreads out with impetuosity and abundance,” Brother Lawrence’s classic,
The Practice of the Presence of God as quoted by Marjorie J. Thompson.
   “God has infinite treasures to give us. Yet a little tangible devotion, which passes away in a moment satisfies us.  How blind we are, since in this way we tie God’s hands, and we stop the abundance of His grace! But when He finds a soul penetrated with living faith, He pours out grace on it in abundance.”
   “Spiritual reading can be applied to texts other than scripture, especially to devotional literature or good religious poetry. Great spiritual classics may be read in small portions, savored, and reflected upon for personal nurture,” Thompson comments: “Now go back into these words with a mind seeking connections to your own life, and a heart open to being addressed by God in your current situation . . . Pause . . . allow questions to surface:
·       God do you really have infinite treasures to give me?

·       Do you desire to pour these out in my life?

·       Visualize—what happens when a torrent of water is blocked from its normal flow?

·       What blocks do I put in the way of God’s grace?

·       Am I satisfied with too little?

·       How do I become “a soul penetrated with living faith?     
  “Allow prayer to surface spontaneously from the meditations of your heart . . .
then take a few moments to rest in confidence that your desires are known and received
in the heart of God.  Find joy and peace in this assurance.  You have just completed a
process of spiritual reading.”

Soul Feast: An invitation to the spiritual life, chapter 2, by Marjorie J. Thompson
(Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, Kentucky, © 1995, 2005).

1 comment:

About Cheryl Thompson said...

Thank you for this "slow" way to read spiritual texts. It will pay anyone who tries it!