First Love

Kathleen Norris wrote a wonderful book called, Dakota. It is a book of meditation and devotion. People now take notice of her. In another writing she talked about her spiritual pilgrimage. She said she was raised in the Church. Then in young adulthood, like so many, she left the Church. Now, in middle age, she has come back to the Church through an experience that she had in a Benedictine monastery in Minnesota.

There she experienced the spiritual discipline of the Monastic order called lectio continuo, which means, sitting and listening to the reading of scripture. It changed her life, she said. It was an epiphany. It came to her when she was listening to the reading of the Revelation to John. At the beginning of the Book of Revelation, John addresses the churches. He says to Ephesus, “God has this against you, that you have abandoned the love that you had at first.”

Norris wrote this. “These are words of conversion, taking hold they can change a life. ‘You have abandoned the love you had at first.’ When I first heard them in the monk’s choir, tears welled up in me, unexpected and unwelcome. I remembered how completely I had loved God and church as a child, and how easily I had drifted away as a young adult.”

“You have abandoned the love you had at first.”

She continued. “Somehow the simple magic of having the Bible read aloud to me opened my eyes to recognize the extent I had allowed the resistance of the world to shake my faith. A secular world view, terribly sophisticated, but of little use to me in the long run, had taken hold of me. Consequently I had allowed the fire to die down in my heart. In the Benedictine choir I allowed John’s words to wash over me, and my full sense of the sacredness of the world returned, and I had begun to listen as a child again.”

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Filed under Christian Journey, Christian Living, Monasticism

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