“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”
- 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
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.”