George Sabol

Meditations of Peace and Good

Peace and Good, Franciscan Meditations of the Gospels

In 2007, a friend gave me a book, Notes for Meditation, by W. E. Lutyens, Priest of the Oratory of the Good Shepherd. Soon after, I began to use that book for daily meditation. The book was printed in 1933 in London, England. The book is small and easily carried in a coat pocket and conducive to being taken along when traveling. There are a few hand written notes in pencil made by a previous owner who may have been in a religious order. On the inside back cover is written “For use in Chapel, Page 7” and on the inside cover sheet is a signed name dated 1934. I often wonder who the owners were in the 74 years before me, and how it came to America from England. But, I mostly wonder why my friend bought it, since at that time she was certainly not outwardly disposed to such a book, and what brought her to make it a gift to me. For I truly believe that it, like so much in life, is a gift of true mystery from God

Lutyens’ book follows the Church’s liturgical calendar beginning with the First Sunday of Advent. The meditation for each day is presented on one page. Apparently, the author’s intent was to stimulate rather than educate. Each daily meditation has a brief heading. That is followed by a scriptural reference. Then, each daily meditation is set in three sections; 1 – a reflective narrative on the cited scripture, 2 – an interpretive observation of the significance of the scripture to the world of Lutyens’ time, and 3 – an invitation to the reader to search the message of the scripture. Section 3 is often done in the form of questions. In Lutyens’ words, “They are designed to stimulate the mind to devotion by suggestion.”

In this book, I follow the same general format employed by Lutyens. Each daily meditation begins with a brief citation from scripture. Those are predominantly from the gospel of John; Saint Francis’ favorite scripture. Section 1 is typically a commentary on the gospel passage. Section 2 is a narrative from the life of Saint Francis or Saint Clare or one of their followers that exemplifies the selected gospel citation. Section 3, like Lutyens, is an invitation, often using questions, to stimulate the mind and soul to devotion by meditating on the gospel message and the example of the little brother from Assisi, Saint Francis.

This collection of 100 meditations follows, to some extent, the progression of Saint Francis’ conversion to Jesus Christ. It is noted that the author has occasionally used imaginative interpretations of both scripture and Franciscan history. It has been said that imagination can lead us closer to the truth than history and recorded fact. Although I do not claim my imaginary interpretations to be fact; my hope is that they serve to stimulate the reader to their own spiritual imagination and greater devotion to their God.

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