Friday, February 22, 2008

Reading, reading, reading

With my Lenten pursuit of poetry, I'm discovering that the discipline of studying and reading actual poetry is awakening a lost energy in me regarding a subject I thought I new nothing about. I am remembering "lost" lessons and bringing them into focus. With the focus of reading, reading, reading poetry, I'm finding wonderful energy leading to writing, writing, writing.

In line with my thoughts about reading and writing, earlier this week via e-mail, one of our adult daughters recommended a site of an author of childrens’ books. In a parents’ meeting that she attended, Mr. Gantos advocated for young and old alike to attempt writing more - as much or even more, as we read. He outlined his theory that in our progression towards knowledge we begin to read more and more difficult works, forsaking along the way writing down our own thoughts and turning to rely solely on the thoughts of others. Mr. Gantos makes sense to me.

For me, placing reading in the same artistic category as drawing or painting - I can relate to his words. I remember loving art forms as a child, plunging right in. When did I talk myself out of those worlds?

With reading and writing receiving top billing with me lately, why was I surprised to find a favorite morning prayer theologian, John Baillie, with these prayerful words for me.

Leave me not, O gracious Presence, in such hours as I may today devote to the reading of books or of newspapers. Guide my mind to choose the right books and having chosen them, to read them in the right way. When I read for profit, grant that all I read may lead me nearer to Thyself. When I read for recreation, grant that which I read may not lead me away from Thee. Let all my reading so refresh my mind that I may the more eagerly seek after whatsoever things are pure and fair and true.

Having read this prayer selection on the 21st of last month, I was freshly reminded that sometimes I’m ready to read and inwardly digest, and sometimes I’m not! Mr. Baillie's prayer for reading and selection of reading materials is an appropriate one in my life today. Maybe it's appropriate to your life as well. Happy reading and writing!

photo - Sunrise Sister, Maui


  1. i find that as my contemplative practices have increased, the volume of my reading has decreased. it makes more sense to me as i read your words. sometimes i am not ready to digest as i read and when i do digest, i find that fewer pages are encountered. often i find a few words or sentences that will stay with me for several days. i am reminded of the practice of lectio divina.

    great post! i love hearing what's percolating in your mind :) xoxoxox

  2. ...and I too, enjoy the percolating of yours and others minds as well. It is fascinating to me where life, habits, relationships, God's presence leads us all.

    Thank you for responding.