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366 Daily Reflections on Random Selections 
from Scripture

Now available from CreateSpace and Amazon


          Daily meditation has been part of my life for decades, and the thought of writing a book of daily reflections was an infrequent occurrence. As often as I dismissed the notion, it returned. On January 1, 2011, the writing began – I started my commentary on random selections from Scripture.

In the beginning years of our wintering in Mexico, we held non-denominational Sunday services at our clubhouse. A semi-retired Lutheran minister frequently provided a service, and a retired Anglican priest from Canada began to fill in as well. When the priest needed a missal or bible for his Sunday readings I asked around. 

One of our neighbors gave me The New American Bible, Saint Joseph Edition left in her house by the previous owner. I acquired the thick Bible with its heavy, warped and faded green cover. That Bible became my reading, reflecting, responding and writing resource for this project.

I began where the Hebrew Bible began, “In the beginning…” from the “First Story of Creation,” (Genesis 1:1, page 4), fully expecting to complete the writing by the end of December 2011.

Four years later, after entering 366 (1 extra for February 29) hand written pages in three separate college ruled 8x10.5 notebooks, I completed the first computer draft.

 Most of the time, I opened to a page in the Bible; pointed to a place on the page and started reading. When I found something that struck a chord, I wrote the quote for the day, noted the page, cross-referenced a date in the Bible, took a few minutes to reflect, and began writing my commentary.

Lectio Divina

Near the beginning, I told a friend about my project. And she said it sounded like “Lectio Divina,” a Latin term meaning “divine reading.” During the 12th century, Guigo, a Carthusian monk, described his spiritual practice in the following stages:

Lectio (read) Read a Scripture passage slowly and reflectively.

Meditatio (reflect) Think deeply about the text.

Orato (respond) Open our hearts and minds to the Divine.

Contemplatio (rest) Let go of our own thoughts and listen.

 In the 16th century, St. Teresa of Avila founded a religious order based on the tradition of Carmel, and the practice of deeply theological prayer and contemplation. Christine Valters Paintner, in her beautiful book Lectio Divina—the Sacred Art: Transforming Words and Images into the Heart-Centered Prayer, applies the Lectio Divina process to a variety of sacred texts. She explains the Haggadah, Judaism’s method of studying and memorizing Scripture that was a part of the life of Jesus and his followers.

Although, the traditional, expressed purpose of Lectio Divina is to draw closer to the Divine, my personal and original intent was a writing exercise based in Scripture.  Had I known in advance the difficulty of the task and the number of years involved, I might never have begun. Finishing what I start does matter, and the exercise is rewarding on so many levels.

My commentaries are meant to demonstrate the results of staying with the practice of reading, reflecting, and responding to the words in the holy books of your choice. This introduction is about the process of honoring my own inspiration and following it through. If you seek guidance to do what I did, then I direct you to books and studies using the Lectio Divina method.

Legal Fair Use

During year three, I contacted the Catholic Publishing Company, New York, NY, and was referred to the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, regarding copyright for THE NEW AMERICAN BIBLE, 1970.

In the initial email from the Associate Director, Permissions and Bible Utilization, I was informed  that “If your proposed work uses more than 5,000 words from the NAB (New American Bible) or if the NAB quotes are more than 40% of your book, we need to review the manuscript before permission may be granted. Such permission should be requested once you have identified a publisher for this work.

“Please note,” she continued, “that all citations must be verbatim and follow the capitalization of the original printed text. The verse structure of petic text must be retained. Permission is no longer granted for the 1970 New Testament.”

My estimates followed: “I expect my Scripture passages will average 25 words x 365 daily entries to equal about 9,000 words. My commentary will average of 300 words per page, or 300 x 365, about 109,500 words. I chose this edition because I could cross-reference the dates.

Email response: “Since you use more than 5,000 words from NAB, permission will be required. We need to review the pages of your manuscript that include the NAB text. In addition, there will be a permissions fee. That fee is based on the print run and list price of your book.

“The 1970 NAB New Testament is still under copyright, so permission would still be required for its use. However, we no longer grant that permission. Instead, we require that authors and others use the superior 1986 New Testament translation.”

Six months later, having completed the computer entry and a first edit, I sent my manuscript as an attachment to the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD). In two weeks, the review came back with nearly every scripture entry red-lined. New Testament words were changed to the 1986 edition of the NAB. After careful count, the words in the scripture passages represented 9.4 percent of my manuscript. Changing the wording to the 1986 edition of NAB would destroy my continuity, my commentary. Finally, I asked “Can we agree on what constitutes legal fair use determination”

Final email: “The NAB’s gratis use limit is 5,000 words. Your work exceeds that limit. The limit looks at the whole Bible, both Old and New Testaments. The approved policy requires a permissions fee beyond this limit. These points were made in my November correspondence.” (Mes, May 27, 2014)

I took great pains to reduce my word count for scripture quotes from The New American Bible, St. Joseph Edition, 1970, to just below 5,000 words. The quotes are brief, and I encourage readers to go to their Bibles and read on. As a result of this process I am enlightened and grateful.

Book Title

The working title for this project was The Day Book. I went from the working title to several other attempts to be original. My next choice was Out of Context, until I put the words into my Kindle search and found several books with that in the title.

I really liked Out of Context because; every word we read, hear or write is taken out of its original context and becomes integrated with other thoughts or words to become our own personal creation. Every thought is recycled or released back into the wild. Every word or thought I express in writing is coming out of my individual context and released  into the wild – so that you – my readers may integrate my thoughts into your individual humanness – or release those thoughts into the wild. Thoughts are energy. All we think, see or do is energy. In my concept of energy there is but one source. That source, I choose to call God. But, whomever or whatever you believe is the source of all energy, I honor that.

I looked at titles around the Lectio Divina method of reading, reflecting, responding and rest. My conclusion was the title I chose for the cover of this book: Read. Reflect. Respond. Rest. 366 Daily Reflections on Random Selections from Scripture.

My Amen!

The Bible, Old and New Testaments combined, is often referred to as the “Word of God.” Not, the “words” of God. I take that to mean the “Spirit” of the entire collection of words. Those words have been translated and re-translated over and over again, in an attempt to find the most relevant meaning for the current times. The words are translated into different languages – without changing the Spirit of the words that express the relationship of humans to the God of their understanding at the time the words were first put in place – cast in stone, or written on paper.

My purpose in starting this project four years ago was a spiritual, not religious, reading and writing exercise. I believe that the “kingdom of God is within.” And, I believe that kingdom is within every human being. The deeper we go (reflect) into our own kingdom (spirit), the better we will be able to recognize that kingdom (spirit) in everyone we meet. Seek, and you will find the questions you need to ask yourself – and sometimes, answers.

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