The Contemplative Companion

The Contemplative Companion for Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Brothers and sisters:
Let love be sincere;
hate what is evil,
hold on to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection;
anticipate one another in showing honor.
Do not grow slack in your [aim and work],
be fervent in spirit,
serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope,
endure in affliction,
persevere in prayer.   – Romans 12. 9 – 12

Slack.

It’s a great word that describes what happens in our spiritual life when we go a few days without living under the “authority” of a daily rule or intentional practice(s).

The interesting thing about slack is that in rope, when slack occurs, if the rope is attached to an object that has come to a standstill,  there is a sudden “jolt” when the still object begins to move again, and the slack in the rope is “cinched” or drawn tight. This is a shock that gets our attention and reminds us that we are actually being led and not the one leading.

Applying the illustration to the spiritual life, Paul’s simple and frank Rule of Life outlined in Romans chapter 12, reminds us of the importance of our daily way of life as individuals and in community. 

It is very easy to live under our own self desires as the primary rule of life: doing what we want when we want. Going here and there. Seeing, wanting, getting. Liking this, disliking that. Getting up whenever, going to bed whenever. Such is the nature of slack. In such a case, the only rule by which one lives is the rule of one’s own will for pleasure, peace, ease and contentment.

In contrast, the monastic spiritual tradition invites us to live under a Rule of Life beyond the rule and whims of our own self and human nature. A Rule of Life draws the slack that inevitably builds up through such self directed living, and replaces that slack with daily and hourly practices such as:

Self-observation, Non-Identification with what one observes, and Remembering God.

The Prayer of the Hours

Lectio Divina

Centering Prayer

And, in Paul’s words:

Sincerely
hate what is evil,
hold on to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection;
anticipate one another in showing honor.
Do not grow slack in your [aim and work],
be fervent in spirit,
serve the Lord.
Rejoice in hope,
endure in affliction,
persevere in prayer.

© 2017 ContemplativeChristians.com. All Rights Reserved.

1 comment on “The Contemplative Companion for Wednesday, May 31, 2017

  1. Another brilliant analogy

    Like

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