Peace! It is good to have a new, more powerful and yet simpler blog format for Oblates to use. Thank you sisters for encouraging us to break open our lives and to share our thoughts on our spiritual paths. Especially, thanks to Sue Flansburg for facilitating this awesome website for the Benedictine Sisters of St. Mary Monastery.
I volunteered to blog first because I’m excited about telling you about the 1st Oblate Monastic Institute held in Atchison, KS this past July. Sr. Ruth Ksycki, Sr. Marianne Burkhard,, Deidre Redington Obl. OSB and I went for 4 days of reflection and praying with the Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica.
The second evening we were there we had a session by Cori Pursell, an Oblate at the Mount who is also a staff member at the Sophia Center of the Mount (their big retreat/spiritual direction building – http://www.mountosb.org). In this blog I want to briefly describe Cori’s presentation and reflect on the power of such an exercise. Cori challenged all of us Oblates to try a different kind of lectio and that is the main thing I’d like to put out there for any of you to react to.
Cori had placed pastels and big sheets of paper at all of our round tables – we were about 60 participants. Many of us were wary of having to draw and get more in touch with our emotions, but we were quickly taken by her many good questions and reflections. As an introduction to our assignment Cori showed us an apple and asked us what it was. We said, an apple, a fruit. She asked us to go deeper and someone suggested “an apple pie, it’s mom’s warm pie with melted ice cream”. Cori wanted us then to identify the emotion attached to this level of lectio on an object – was it love for your mother? was it overwhelming gratitude or joy?
So, Cori then asked us to draw with the pastels our emotional reaction to one of the Benedictine values we felt close to that evening. We were to do lectio creatively, to quietly reflect on our emotional landscape. The 20 minutes we had for drawing in silence went by quickly, too quickly. It seemed at least for me, that I wasn’t prone to as many distractions. The sharing afterwards at my table became an intimate moment, tender and non-judgmental. We were all surprised by how much we enjoyed this exercise.
Cori’s challenge to us Oblates was to try doing lectio with pastels every day for 30 days. It could be lectio on Scriptures, on the Rule or on our lives. Do we want to be charged with creative energy, to let the unconscious come to the surface in a visible way? Do we touch our emotions when we do lectio?