Sunday, November 13, 2011

Two new guests for breakfast

Two years ago, I reported on the Hollywood family's morning ritual of Scripture reading.  Since that time, the practice has been expanded and altered to an extent.

Back in January, we decided to add a guest lecturer to our morning ritual - St. Augustine of Hippo.  We began to read a chapter from his Confessions each morning, followed by a very brief meditation and prayer from Augustine as found in Augustine Day by Day.

A few weeks ago, we made a slight modification to the rite by having the ESV narrator read the daily offering from the One Year Bible while we follow along.  For further study, as the narrator reads, I skim the New Testament text in Greek and the Psalm readings in Latin.  The narrator moves along at a good clip, and this is not the time for parsing and memorizing vocabulary.  The timing works out pretty well as the narrator wraps up the Old Testament lesson about the time that I am serving the cappuccino.

After ten months of learning from our dear brother in Christ and doctor of the church, the sainted bishop of Hippo, we have for the past week invited a couple of other great Christian minds into our home (upon the advice of, and kindly introduction by, the Rev. David Petersen): a fellow named Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) and his modern-day commentator and interpreter Dr. Peter Kreeft.  We are still praying with St. Augustine and enjoying his short meditations through the end of the year - but it is getting a little crowded at our breakfast table.  It is fortunate for us that we don't have to feed all of these people - though they are certainly feeding us.  The Pascal-Kreeft book is entitled Christianity for Modern Pagans - and it is a running conversation between the two as the latter engages the former's famous work, the Pensées, carrying on like old friends.

Our lectio continua is truly the highlight of the day: a time of God's Word, meditation, theology, and philosophy - a few moments of monastic peace each morning, any of which can become a day transformed into a sudden maelstrom of activity, stress, tragedy, or just plain hard work.  Our morning ritual is a time to stop and listen to the still, small voice of God's Word and to bask in the glow of saints and Christian thinkers - washed down with the most un-monastic treat of a frothy cappuccino.

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