Summer Lectio: A sacred reading of your summer


Just through the farthest kitchen window this morning I saw the first turned leaf.  Seeing it there through glass and across the room I felt as though I rested in two times, the summer that is and the fall that is to come.  So many things come to be in the summer; the pace of work slows in the sun, there are more days like Sabbaths, family come by from far away and the soft toes of those infants in our life, children, grandchildren, friends, those soft toes touch the grass and we see their faces of wonder and are delighted.

Of course this is stirred into the terrors of the world, the sharp spark of hate, the aridity of indifference, the wreck of war and fire and famine, but in summer there are these days like Sabbaths and we let them rinse through us, slowing and softening us to receive what is needed for our courage, creativity and compassion.

So many things come to be in the summer and, as we come to the moment when the first leaf has turned toward fall, I invite you to sit with your summer and read it like a text.  I invite you into Lectio Divina, the sacred reading of these days.

Prepare for this Lectio by finding and shaping an hour that is just for you.  Bring with you, in imagination, or with tangible mementos (photos, flowers, shells, tickets from plane rides or theatre, sandals or sneakers or your favourite summer hat),  the text of your summer.  Create the threshold with music or tea or a cool drink in a special glass.  Savour what is.   Settle into the moment.   Be with your experiences of summer as a sacred text.

You may listen to the guided Lectio here, pausing it to give yourself all the time you need.   Or you may follow the words printed below it.  

When you are ready find a position that allows you to be in your body in such a way that body becomes part of your invitation to God, one with the opening of your heart, softened and settled, in itself a grateful invitation to Spirit.

Feel free to take a moment to find the position in which you can be attentively still.

As you are settling, notice your breath.
Notice your breath with the gentle gaze of your heart.
Take a moment to let go of any analyzing words such as rapid, irregular, slow, labored.
Just feel your breath move lovingly through your body, enlivening, nourishing.
As you move toward stillness and receptivity, bring your hands to your heart.

Let them rest gently and lovingly there.
Breathe in as though through your heart, and lovingly exhale.
Bring your hands to a prayer position that is comfortable,
Feel in the palms of your hands the weight and warmth of your heart.
Feel your hands’ connection to your heart, and breath,
The flow of prayer from heart to hands,
The tenderness of hands for heart,
The beat of prayer in your hands.

We come to the sacred text of summer as to Living Water.

Lectio ~

Take time to read through your summer, stopping when a moment “shimmers,” or has a particular energy for you.
This energy may be strong or faint.
You may read through the whole text of your summer or you may be caught before its end by a shimmering moment.
It may be a joyful shimmering, or sorrowful,
may hold comfort or disturbance.
evoke attraction or resistance.

Trust the Spirit.
Listen with your heart.

Receive the words of the sacred text as though they were a love letter written from God to you in this very moment of your life. [1]…/lectio-divina-the-sacred-art-transforming-words-and-images

 Meditatio ~

Savour the moment that has been given you.
Holding it tenderly let feelings and images rise from its stirring in you.
Reflect with heart, mind and body on how it touches your life, a meaning it might have for you or for the larger community.
Don’t force a meaning.
Trust that it will emerge in God’s own time, which may be now or later.

Oratio  ~ 

Let reflection bring you to the threshold of active prayer.
What conversation with Mystery does your reflection prompt?
Dispose yourself for Love’s leading through your reflection.
Open, to be led to live out what the word calls you to.
This may be a tangible action,
An attention to healing in some area the word has touched in you,
A call to rejoice.

Contemplatio    ~  Rest in Still Presence

Open to the deep well of silence.
Let words go.

In this stage the previous moments are gathered up.
In this state of deep receptivity, all that has come before may be both surrendered and held.

When you feel ready, gently close the silence.
Hold the moment that shimmered and its call to you.
Imagine ways to carry it into the coming days.

What breath prayer or mantra might you shape from your summer reading?

[1] Christine Valters Paintner


About Catherine Smith

A retired minister with the United Church of Canada I’ve grown up in church, been ordained and served communities that are small or in transition. I’ve seen firsthand just how powerful these experiences can be in helping to foster meaningful connections with others and the Other, the mystery that holds us all. My greatest hope is that my writing and this website will help you live well in the big questions that face all of us in this beautiful, aching world.

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  1. Catherine Smith on September 2, 2017 at 9:06 am

    May the time be spacious Catherine.

  2. Catherine MacDonald on September 1, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Thank you for this Catherine; I have been waiting till this weekend to spend some time with it. I think it will be my Sabbath practice on Sunday.

  3. Rowshan Nemazee on August 28, 2017 at 6:29 pm

    Lovely, as always, Catherine!

    • Catherine Smith on August 29, 2017 at 8:56 am

      Thank you Rowshan. May your summer be gently gathered into fall.

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