Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Bible reading and contemplation

On p. 100 of 'The Only Necessary Thing' Henri Nouwen writes...
To take the Holy Scriptures and read them is the first thing we have to do to open ourselves to God's call. Reading the Scriptures is not as easy as it seems since in our academic world we tend to make anything and everything we read subject to analysis and discussion. But the word of God should lead us first of all to contemplation and meditation. Instead of taking the words apart, we should bring them together in our innermost being; instead of wondering if we agree or disagree, we should wonder which words are directly spoken to us and connect directly with our most personal story. Instead of thinking about the words as potential subjects for an interesting dialogue or paper, we should be willing to let them penetrate into the most hidden corners of our heart, even to those places where no other word has yet found entrance. Then and only then can the word bear fruit as seed sown in rich soil. Only then can we really "hear and understand" (Matt. 13:23).

...It is often helpful to take one sentence or word that offers special comfort and repeat it a few times so that, with that one sentence or word, the whole content can be brought to mind and allowed slowly to descend from the mind into the heart.