Arthur: Literature for the liturgical season of Pentecost, Lectio sacra
This book “is a journey of the imagination guided by poets and author, both classic and contemporary, who have known the things of God but speak in metaphor.” Sarah Arthur, p. 7, At the Still Point, Paraclete Press. 2011.
At the Still Point is a literary guide of daily and weekly readings and prayers by well-known authors for the long green liturgical season between the Day of Pentecost and Advent compiled by Sarah Arthur. She has also written companion similar guides for Advent, Christmas and Epiphany (Light Upon Light) and for Lent Holy Week, and Easter (Between Midnight and Dawn).
In these twenty-nine weeks between the day of Pentecost and the first Sunday in Advent, Arthur hopes to open up our imagination as she exposes us to brief excerpts or short works of writers well known to us as well as some authors we may not know but should! Arthur warns us that as we encounter some of the readings in this anthology, there should be an alert: “Warning: Powerful Spiritual Moment Ahead!” Arthur suggests that we read each passage not as something for our English Literature class or for pleasure, but as liturgical pieces for worship and especially prayer.
Each week begins with an outline for the next seven days consisting of an opening prayer, scripture readings, readings from literature, a place of personal prayer and reflection, and a closing prayer. Arthur suggests applying the ancient principles of lectio divina or divine reading that we used reading scripture now as we read the weekly poetry and fiction writings she has prescribed. We read the passage, meditate on it, pay attention to a word or phrase that connects to us, and finally rest in God’s presence with what we have experienced. It has been helpful to me to carry that word or phrase with me during that day or perhaps the whole week. Since this process is now being used for literature and poetry rather than scripture, Arthur has christened it holy reading or lectio sacra.
I invite you to journey with me with Sarah Arthur during this ordinary season with an extraordinary spiritual practice of daily worship and prayer.