St. John's Anglican Church

Birmingham, Alabama church

Birmingham, AL, Mt Laurel, Mt. Laurel, church, Anglican, Episcopal, Christian, Catholic, Reformed Episcopal, Holy Communion, Eucharist

Meditating on Holy Scripture

Habits, particularly good habits, enable us to make progress in life. Some habits may simply save us time — for example, I always put my car keys in the same location, mostly, so I don’t have to spend any time looking for them. But habits, because so often repeated, can easily become perfunctory: we keep them even if we don’t remember the daily particulars of doing so. The habit of reading Morning and Evening Prayer is commended for all Anglicans and required for priests, deacons and bishops. The concern is that the regular keeping of Morning and Evening Prayer may become rote, routine, hasty, even superficial. How do we keep this from happening? Well, one way is to meditate on what we read, especially on the daily Scripture readings. Meditatio (Latin) means to read a text and to learn it “by heart” or with one’s whole being. In John Leclercq’s The Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture, for the ancients, to read the biblical text and to learn it with one’s whole being is to read it “with the body, since the mouth pronounced it, with the memory which fixes it, with the intelligence which understands its meaning, and with the will which desires to put it into practice.” This habit of Morning and Evening Prayer will sustain us in the practice and progress of the Christian life.

JSH+