Stability and Rootedness

Autumn is in the air once again even here in this land of perpetual light and heat and Spanish moss bedecked Northern Florida landscape. It’s beautiful to watch the seasons change no matter where one is, but especially after one has set down roots and taken the time to stand still long enough to get to know a place and its character. I’ve been here since 2003 and feel like I’ve been here long enough to really notice the subtleties of the passing seasons not unlike someone who consistently prays some form of the breviary over time gets to really know the rhythm of the liturgical year, the saints and feasts and customs that mark the passing of time and somehow bring a bit of the eternal world into ones own.

As I sit here I can look outside my window at a freshly trimmed Sabal Palm swaying gently in the late October breeze, it’s fingered fronds catching the waning light of the feast of St. Longinus and splashing shadowed green at me in ways that could only happen right here at this time of the year, or perhaps at this time at all. Even the sky has a melancholic pastel blue that’s foreign to the summer months in these parts, and the crows caw overhead in their metallic song as only they do here in the darker and cooler months. image

While these days I’m on the verge of officially following Hieromonk Gabriel Bunge into Orthodoxy in a formal way, I’m still very much influenced by the Benedictine Way that this blog was named after, and this business of rootedness and stability that   I’ve been opining on these last few paragraphs. When a man becomes a monk he is asked to become rooted in one place and learn to live by its seasons and the seasons of his own heart, allowing Gods grace to transfigure him from within while remaining in the place of his profession.

 

Us laymen can ponder this business of stability and rootedness in our own lives as well, and see if it works for us or if we can find any wisdom in it. I know that both intuitively and in my own life I have found a lot of wisdom in it. We are asked to stand our ground somewhere, to sit still, to allow the business of growth to happen right where we are. Psalm 1 is about this if you’re interested in reading and pondering it.

Do you stick with your daily times of prayer or the contents? Do you keep practicing some hobby or discipline no matter what, returning to it if you backslide a bit? These are just questions to ponder as you think about rootedness and stability.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Stability and Rootedness

  1. Dear J.D.,
    I’ve seen some of your recent comments on Opus Publicum and found your blog thus. As a Catholic, I’ve been in a gut-wrenching and heart-rending struggle with Orthodoxy myself over the last nearly two years. I have also struggled to stick to a prayer rule. (I used to say the LOTH with some regularity for a couple of years before my encounter with Orthodoxy. I’ve recently turned back to it, especially since for all its weaknesses, the Grail psalter is comprehensible and comfortably familiar… but still struggling.)
    Would you be willing to correspond privately and share experiences?
    God bless,
    Tom

    • Hi Tom,thanks for commenting. Of course you can always correspond with me about this stuff.

      I pray these days from the Old Orthodox Prayerbook and Horologion, both from the Erie, PA Old Ritualists. I used to pray from the Farnborough Monastic Diurnal and the LAP Matins, but found I missed praying in an Eastern way.

      At heart I’m ready to fully enter into Orthodoxy,but I am not in the business of persuading you or anyone else to follow suit. It’s been a long and agonizing journey for me to get to this point.

      If you are praying the LOTH and the Grail Psalter and they help you find that stability and rhythm than stick with it. Liturgical style prayer is always commendable.

      JD

      • John says:

        JD,

        Like Tom, a lot of what you write resonates with me. I also feel the pull towards Orthodoxy but also love Benedictine spirituality and am very attached to the traditional liturgy (monastic diurnal of Farnborough and latin mass) of the Roman Rite.

        I’d love to hear more from you as I think sharing your experiences and your journey might be of help to me too.

        John

      • Hi John, thanks for commenting. Oh yes, I love the Farnborough Diurnal and used it for years, supplementing it with the Lancelot Andrewes Press Monastic Matins. If you wish to become Orthodox but remain in a Western Style of prayer you might be best keeping it to yourself in your parish or finding a Western Rite one.

        While I’m pretty much set on Orthodoxy these days, I will say without a doubt that amongst Roman Catholics there are several excellent robust monasteries that follow something like the Farnborough— Clear Creek, Norcia, La Barroux, Silverstream Priory and probably a few others.

        If you choose Orthodoxy don’t take it lightly. I say this because it’s a huge decision and it’s taken me years to come to it.

        I still will always love and probably pray from my Diurnal at times.

        Keep in touch.

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