Daily Riches: “Statio” – Coming to a Full Stop for Contemplation (Kathleen Norris)

“Once, when I was the only guest one Sunday night at a women’s monastery, the sisters invited me to join them in statio, the community’s procession into church. The word, which means ‘standing’ in Latin, is one of the many terms from the Roman Army that ancient Christian monastics adopted for their own purposes. To get into position, to station oneself, to take a stand. To wait in line, in a posture that invites individual watchfulness, to ‘recollect’ oneself before reentering church.  …I didn’t realize it at the time, but …not being able to amble into church on my own to find a choir stall pushed me into recognizing what the sisters already sensed, that Christ is actively present in their worshiping community. Not as a static idea or principle, but a Word made flesh, a listening, active Christ who in the gospels tells us that he prays for us, and who promises to be with us always.  Walking slowly into church in that long line of women taught me much about liturgical time and space. I found to my surprise that the entire vespers service had more resonance for me because of the solemn way I had entered into it.” Kathleen Norris

In some contemplative circles today, another, but related, meaning attaches to “statio.” Statio refers to the practice of pausing after finishing one thing and before starting another. It’s like Merton’s “recollecting” of oneself (one’s communion with one’s soul), or what Richard Foster describes as “reorienting our lives like a compass needle.” It’s simply taking a moment to lift up to God whatever has just transpired, and petition him to be in whatever is next. Such a practice can be very brief, but no doubt on occasions will lead into something longer and unexpected between the individual and God. Certainly it will help us to be more present to God through the day.

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise”
Psalm 100:4

Moving From the Head to the Heart
  • Is your church experience given “more resonance” because of how you enter into it?
  • Do you attempt to “recollect yourself” before the service begins?
  • What do you do to be intentionally “present” to Christ who is also present as the church gathers?

Abba, help me to constantly recalibrate my soul so I am aware of and available to you.

For More: Amazing Grace by Kathleen Norris

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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”

 

Daily Riches: Chasing the Wind … With Words (Richard Foster, Ruth Haley Barton and Thomas Merton)

“We are so accustomed to relying on words to manage and control others. If we are silent, who will take control? God will take control, but we will never let him take control until we trust him. Silence is intimately related to trust. The tongue is our most powerful weapon of manipulation. A frantic stream of words flows from us because we are in a constant process of adjusting our public image. We fear so deeply what we think other people see in us that we talk in order to straighten out their understanding. …One of the fruits of silence is the freedom to let God be our justifier. We don’t need to straighten others out. …God can care for us–’reputation and all.’” Richard Foster

“…much that happens in solitude and silence ends up being ‘for others’—as paradoxical as that may seem. Our speech patterns are refined by the discipline of silence, because growing self-awareness enables us to choose more truly the words we say. Rather than speech that issues from subconscious needs to impress, to put others in their place, to compete, to control and manipulate, to repay hurt with hurt, we now notice our inner dynamics and choose to speak from a different place, a place of love, trust and true wisdom that God is cultivating within us. Over time we become safer for other seeking souls, because we are able to be with them and the issues they are dealing with without being hooked by our own anxieties and fears. We are comfortable with our humanity, because we have experienced God’s love and compassion in that place, and so it becomes very natural for us to extend love and compassion to others in their humanity.” Ruth Haley Barton

“Better is a handful of quietness
than two hands full of toil
and striving after the wind.
Ecclesiastes 4:6

Moving From the Head to the Heart

  • What is more natural for you, “a handful of quietness” or “two hands full of toil?” Why would quietness be “better?”
  • Have you ever chosen silence, allowing God alone to be your “justifier?”
  • Are you increasingly safe for others because you have “experienced God’s love and compassion in that place” of silent solitude?

“Lord, it is nearly midnight and I am waiting for You in the darkness and the great silence.” Thomas Merton

For More: Invitation to Solitude and Silence by Ruth Haley Barton
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These “Daily Riches” are for your encouragement as you seek after God and he seeks after you. I hope you’ll follow my blog, and share it. My goal is to share something of unique value with you daily in 400 words or less. I appreciate your interest!  –  Bill (Psalm 90:14)

“I practice daily what I believe; everything else is religious talk.”