Broken Body, Healing Spirit: Lectio Divina and Living with Illness

Church Publishing, Inc.
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In the summer of 1995 Mary Earle returned from a vacation feeling refreshed and restored from her time away. A few days later, all that changed, when she was rushed to the emergency room with a case of acute and life-threatening pancreatitis. Being ill, she discovered, forces you to learn to live in whole new ways, ones often marked by limitation and fragility. As a priest and spiritual director, Earle began to explore ways in which her own prayer life might help her build a different relationship with her illness. Using the Benedictine practice of lectio divina, or sacred reading, she began to "read" her own illness, and discovered a way of befriending and helping to heal--if not cure--her body and her life. In Broken Body, Healing Spirit, Earle introduces this strategy to others who are hungry to find ways of living more fully despite chronic or serious illness or pain. Her practical, step-by-step approach to "reading the text of our illnesses," and learning to listen to what our bodies are trying to tell us will be of help to those who are currently suffering with disease or limitations, as well as to those who are caregivers and counselors.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Church Publishing, Inc.
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Published on
Jul 1, 2003
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Pages
128
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ISBN
9780819225580
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Spirituality
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Using the metaphor of pilgrimage, this book invites readers to reflect on living with illness. The heart of the book is a collection of thirty meditations, followed by a reflection, a short prayer, and a suggested spiritual practice. The meditations voice the difficulties and the challenges of living with illness, and call the reader toward a deepening understanding, compassion and generosity. While the meditations intend to offer comfort, they are also written from the conviction that God invites us to grow even in these circumstances. When living with chronic, terminal, or progressive illness, discovering a way to pray can be quite a challenge. These thirty meditations provide a welcome means with practices inspired by the psalms. Excerpt Day One “You will show me the path of life” —Ps. 16:11 If you are reading this meditation, in all probability you are learning to live with illness. Your illness may be chronic or progressive or terminal. In any case, you are entering a school of experience for which our culture offers little wisdom. You are seeking to find a way to live with the stresses and the discomforts of a body that is somehow weakened. You are trying to live within new limitations. You are also coming face to face with the fact of your own mortality. The wisdom tradition of scripture tells us that this kind of experience, as harsh and painful as it may be, also offers us the opportunity to come to terms with reality. We begin to remember that we are creatures. We begin to recognize that our lives are fragile and that our bodies can suffer from many different maladies. We begin to reorient and reframe our lives, within a new context — a context of difficult days and unexpected physical disruption. And we may begin to ask deeper questions about meaning and about life, about death and about eternity. When we ask those questions, we are beginning to take the first steps on a path of life. We are beginning to live at a deeper level, though it may not be the path we would have chosen.
Using the metaphor of pilgrimage, this book invites readers to reflect on living with illness. The heart of the book is a collection of thirty meditations, followed by a reflection, a short prayer, and a suggested spiritual practice. The meditations voice the difficulties and the challenges of living with illness, and call the reader toward a deepening understanding, compassion and generosity. While the meditations intend to offer comfort, they are also written from the conviction that God invites us to grow even in these circumstances. When living with chronic, terminal, or progressive illness, discovering a way to pray can be quite a challenge. These thirty meditations provide a welcome means with practices inspired by the psalms. Excerpt Day One “You will show me the path of life” —Ps. 16:11 If you are reading this meditation, in all probability you are learning to live with illness. Your illness may be chronic or progressive or terminal. In any case, you are entering a school of experience for which our culture offers little wisdom. You are seeking to find a way to live with the stresses and the discomforts of a body that is somehow weakened. You are trying to live within new limitations. You are also coming face to face with the fact of your own mortality. The wisdom tradition of scripture tells us that this kind of experience, as harsh and painful as it may be, also offers us the opportunity to come to terms with reality. We begin to remember that we are creatures. We begin to recognize that our lives are fragile and that our bodies can suffer from many different maladies. We begin to reorient and reframe our lives, within a new context — a context of difficult days and unexpected physical disruption. And we may begin to ask deeper questions about meaning and about life, about death and about eternity. When we ask those questions, we are beginning to take the first steps on a path of life. We are beginning to live at a deeper level, though it may not be the path we would have chosen.
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