Feed on
Posts
Comments
Viriditas: the greening power of God which sustains  creation and causes our spirits also to grow.  (artist unknown)

Viriditas: the greening power of God which sustains creation and causes our spirits also to grow. (artist unknown)

Viriditas is a term that speaks to the greening power of God toward the human spirit and all of creation, causing and sustaining exuberant life and growth. How can the lifestyle of a Monk of reflect that?

Immanence

The Christian Celts had a wonderful grasp of the integration of the spiritual and natural realms.  They saw God as being immediately present with His creation Romans 11:36, and so they viewed the world and our activities within it as ‘sacramental’, or sacred.

What a glorious way to live!  What joy can be mine, if I find sacred meaning in menial tasks by reminding myself of God’s immediate presence in all places, activities and circumstances?

To keep themselves in this active mindset toward awareness of God, there are endless Celtic prayers inviting and recognising the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the very minutia of daily life.

Milking Prayer
Bless, O God, my little cow,
Bless, O God, my desire;
Bless Thou my partnership (with the cow)
And the milking of my hands, O God.
Bless, O God, each teat,
Bless, O God, each finger;
Bless Thou each drop that goes into my pitcher, O God!

Ray Simpson has written and published prayers in a similar spirit about working at a computer, and commuting on the Freeway.  We can incorporate such prayers, perhaps writing our own, to include as we go about our day, entering each task in the conscious acknowledgement of God.  Including such prayers as we begin the discipline of Praying the Hours or Daily Office is a start.

So if God is immanently with (though separate from) His creation, sustaining all life and making all of life sacred, then it makes sense that  Celtic Christians considered nature to be “the second book of revelation”.  It’s something we should be reading too!  Observing and connecting with creation reveals a great deal about the Creator, (though it is never a replacement for the “first” book of revelation, the Bible).

It behooves us then to not neglect the spiritual benefit of spending time appreciating the creation of the Lord of the Elements. Every rock and tree is made by His hand.  He knows when every sparrow falls.

I encourage all of us to take a daily walk in a park or the woods or as close to nature as you can get,  and open your eyes and ears.  Experience the various textures of  touch and scent in leaf and branch and earth.  Gnosticism has no place in our faith.  Our senses were created to bless us and draw us with joy towards our Maker, and His love is always on display. 

They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.  ~Romans 1:19-20 NLT

Notice  how you feel, or how your spirit is affected, to be surrounded by things not made by man.  Notice the ‘viriditas’ at work all around you. Notice and observe the changing of the seasons.  Look at your pet with fresh eyes.  Consider bringing some of nature indoors with plants, stones or twigs that catch your eye. Hold them, and consider their Maker. What is revealed about our Creator in all of these things?

If we take a reverent view of creation in that it reveals God, and  God cares for and is present to sustain it, it follows that we would become, as in all things, like Him, and as we grow develop a  passion to…

 Care for Creation

Humans are both part of  God’s creation and its stewards.

“Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.” –I Corinthians 4:2 ESV

I believe stewardship begins with a love of creation as God loves it, and a call to a simple lifestyle rather than consumerism.

When I began my contemplative journey in 2011, it was immediately evident that I needed to renounce excess. This included spending, outside commitments, stuff in my home, my eating and clothing.

We’re not going to become perfect stewards in a day, but it can be a process that we commit to.  What are little things I could do differently to benefit other people, and creation, and therefore myself?  Letting go of excess leaves more room for…

Contemplating Mystery and Abiding in Love

Connected to the practical application of Immanence, is Anamnesis. It is a Greek word meaning the conscious, prayerful remembrance of God, the continuing sense of God’s presence throughout the day as we work, pray, eat, talk and rest. It is the awareness of the sacred in all times and places and the refusal to compartmentalise life. John 15:4

This emphasis comes from the Celtic Christian reverence for John the Beloved, who wrote about love more than anything else, and abiding in Christ. The picture of John at rest with Jesus during the Last Supper, ‘listening to the heartbeat of God‘ is their primary view of relationship with God.

We develop in love through intimacy with God, too. We grow in abiding through spiritual practices such as contemplation and meditation, dedicating time apart for this alone as part of our developing Rule of Life.

Abiding, experiencing God’s constant love for us, enables us to love Him back through…

Creativity in Life and Worship

Being aware of God through creation and learning to know His presence more constantly leads naturally into a complete lifestyle of worship.

Worship is giving attention, so as we return our minds to God in practicing contemplation, or remember Him with us as we walk outside or work at a computer, this is a form of worship. But remember we are most like the Creator we worship when we are creative! May we be inspired by the Celtic Christians who used their creativity with all their might when fashioning masterpieces of art in many genres. May we too explore creativity to the glory of God in our daily work and in specific forms of worship! Psalm 149:3 NKJV

When we are constantly engaging with the majesty and glory and love of God, it follows to develop an attitude of…

Hope

Genesis 1:31 Romans 12:9 NLT I Corinthians 13:13

Hope looks for the good in everything first, rather than the evil. The world has enough cynics. We have the Good News of being free in Christ, and knowing that God loves and is at work in the world! Where there is despair, we may weep with those who weep, but may we also be the ones sowing hope!

It is sad that much of the world sees Christians as condemning and judgemental, when Christ came to be Good News! Beneath the stain of sin, the image of God remains in all people, and He loves them. So must we. In grace and humility we can respect and accept people we don’t agree with, without denouncing their beliefs… and at the same time maintain our clear convictions regarding the deity of Christ, the authority of scripture, and God’s glorious plan for redeeming humanity.

So Abiding in love leads us into a lifestyle of Worship and an attitude of Hope, and it also profoundly affects how we engage with other people, particularly in regards to…

Equality

Every person is of value equal before God. No Christian can claim authority over any other Christian, or consider themselves more priviliged or worthy than any other. Galatians 3:28 Matthew 20:25-28

We may behave outwardly as though we believe in equality, but harbour thoughts and beliefs of inequality in our mind where ‘no one sees’. Harder still, often these thoughts are buried assumptions we may not even be aware we have! May God give us grace and show us where we may consider people younger/older or in any way DIFFERENT from ourselves as less than equal.

Let us observe our reactions to others and grow in grace to see Jesus in each other, and the image of God in everyone we meet. Tied to our Care of Creation, if we embrace Equality toward ALL people, near and far, we must have a growing awareness of our actions and their consequences beyond ourselves. Our clear call in the great commandments to love God and love people must include caring for the earth we all live on, and not supporting enterprises that engage in modern slavery and exploitation.

We are exhorted in scripture not only to view all people with Equality, but also to consider them more than ourselves (Romans 12:10, 13) and one way of demonstrating this is…

Hospitality

In hospitality we ‘make room‘ in our lives for other people. This is so rare in our culture. While living aescetic lives, Celtic monks were devoted to hospitality as well. If we see the image of God in all people, honouring them is a natural response.

The Celts were very in touch with the seasons, and knew that to everything there is a season. When we are wounded and wanting, hospitality seems like just another heavy burden. Like the command to love, hospitality needs to be extended to ourselves as well as to others.

All of our growth in the spirit life flows from the internal to the external.  External expressions of hospitality or love are only truly effective when they flow from our own experience of hospitality and love. Trying it any other way leads to burn out and despair. As we tend our own spiritual needs by practicing spiritual disciplines, we have access to God’s resources to bring hope, healing and hospitality to others. We may even be called to the specialised form of hospitality practiced by an…

Anamchara

Originally an anamchara relationship was a new monk sharing a cell with a more experienced one (REALLY making room in your life!), to observe and copy the older monk in learning to live a life of devotion. A new monk did not have to face challenges alone, and often this friendship lasted a lifetime.  Eventually, all people over the age of 7 in a monastic community had an anamchara, someone to love and encourage them on their spiritual journey.

How I wish this were a common practice now!

Conclusion:

How humbling to write such a list of life principles! I am woefully aware of the places I am not yet walking in these ways, and yet I remain committed to continuing to develop them, and to expose myself to God’s transforming Presence as much as possible that He may complete this work in me.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Share this with Sociable™.
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • email
  • StumbleUpon
  • Delicious
  • Google Reader

One Response to “How are we then to live?”

  1. Marie Griffin says:

    I wish to become a monk and like the website. I already say the Divine Office and read Scripture everyday. I have been doing this for years. God bless.

Leave a Reply