Recently I was browsing through Barnes & Noble Bookstore (one of my favorite things to do) and it struck me how many books of daily readings are available. There is an abundance of such titles for women, men, sport enthusiasts and trivia enthusiasts, all designed to leave you with a brief thought to hold during the day. In fact, I probably have a dozen different daily readers on my bookshelf!
My favorite was a gift I received for my 25th Jubilee in 2004. The Daily Reader for Contemplative Life is a compilation of daily scripture meditations and excerpts from the books written by Fr. Thomas Keating. Fr. Thomas is the founder of the Contemplative Prayer Movement and Contemplative Outreach. The Reader divides the readings into sections based on his books and their particular theme. Each day is structured with an ‘active’ prayer verse, an excerpt from one of his books and a longer scripture verse easy to use for lectio divina.
Now I have read just about all Fr. Keatings books and had attended retreats around some of his teachings. He is my favorite spiritual author, for sure. While I value centering prayer, I must admit, I am not always consistent about it. Lectio Divina, which is the hallmark prayer for Benedictines, is my daily practice. The Reader is a terrific daily prayer book for lectio or for any kind of self reflection.
The section I am using currently is focused on Fr. Keating’s Fruits & Gifts of the Spirit book and teachings. In it he provides insightful reflections on the Spirit and the Fruits and ties them right into practical life. The Spirit is crucial piece for any of our lives but especially for anyone in discernment. ‘Where is the Spirit leading me?’ is a critical question when we are discerning any decision in life.
If you are looking for an insightful book that might break open some new awareness of the Spirit working in your life, you might want to add this Reader to your bookshelf. Look for more blog entries on Keating’s book as the summer goes on!