This exercise is not intended to introduce you to something new. It is meant to allow you to experience and feed on what you know. Regular reading of the Bible extends the breadth of our familiarity with Scripture. In 'holy reading' we absorb the Word in depth.

In time you will become aware of an impression that the words have made on you. They have evoked a particular feeling or attitude. When you have become aware of this there is no need to prolong the repetition. Now is the time for "oratio", the praying of your response.

A word about repeating the phrase. There should be nothing artificial and mechanically regular about it. The words of an Orthodox monk teaching about the "Jesus prayer", in which the name of Jesus is repeated many times, are helpful. The repetition "may be likened to the beating of wings by which a bird rises into the air. It must never be boring and forced, or hurried, or in the nature of flapping. It must be gentle, easy and - let us give to this word its deepest meaning - graceful. When the bird has reached the desired height it glides in its flight, and only beats its wings from time to time in order to stay in the air ... The repetition will only be resumed when other thoughts threaten to crowd out the thought of Jesus. Then the invocation will start again in order to gain fresh impetus."


EXERCISE OUTLINE 2: (You have 20-30 mins.)