NOVICE:

A Christian possessing a more ardent desire to approach God will, either alone or in a monastic community, seek solitude. It is for this reason that secluded locations were sought out during the first centuries by hermits and later in different forms by many monks. In addition to prayer – in principle they recited psalms – they devoted most of their time to meditation on God, divine mysteries, divine love, and the relationship between God and man.  The subject of that meditation was in general taken from the Scriptures. Some of them memorized all 150 psalms and many biblical passages.  Their daily routine was shared amongst prayer, meditation, work and rest. The followers of St. Benedict in particular have developed and put into practice special methods for reading and meditating that are nowadays known as “lectio divina” (divine reading). According to this method, meditation progresses in four stages or steps: reading, meditation, prayer and contemplation.  This technique of reading and meditating was practiced chiefly in monasteries but was also recommended to other Christians by Pope Paul VI and Benedict XVI. We Cistercians have placed great emphasis on meditation since the foundation of our order.  St. Bernard valued meditation on the written word: “All my erudition and all my understanding of the Scriptures, all the penetration in their so often hidden meaning I have gained mostly in the woods and on the fields during meditation and prayer.” At Stična the time between Lauds and the community’s celebration of Mass is reserved for meditation, and during his daily routine each monk should also set aside suitable time to meditate, arranged around his work duties.

 

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