A Charlotte Mason Inspired Lenten Practice

a notebook and pen with three small plants

One of the key features of Charlotte Mason’s pedagogy is notebook keeping with the intent of paying close attention. In Studying to be Quiet: One Hundred Days of Keeping, Laurie Bestvater considers how Mason’s thought is an outgrowth of the traditional practice of lectio divina, expanding its focus to go beyond reflection on Scripture.

Lectio divina has four parts: lectio (reading), meditatio (reflection), oratio (prayer), and contemplatio (contemplation). In Mason’s terms, this would be reading carefully, paying close attention, narrating, and then bringing forth living ideas.

Bestvater points out that even in the tradition of the Desert Monks and Benedictines, “the underlying assumption of lectio is that the whole world is, in face, a ‘text’ of sacred revelation.” God can use anything in the world to speak to us if we only pay close attention and reflect.

Bestvater recommends spending 100 days in the practice of notebooking – paying close attention to what God might be trying to convey to us, writing down quotes that speak to us and reflecting on them. She suggests beginning this practice on Ash Wednesday. One hundred days will bring you to right around the end of the liturgical Easter season.

Bestvater chose to focus on quotes that spoke to her of the value of quiet. She shares these quotes in the book, and many of them are lovely. However, you can pick whatever theme might be important to you. If you cannot think of a particular theme, you can choose what speaks to you and a theme might be revealed as you make your way through the practice. Once again, the focus is supposed to be on what God might be trying to say to you. While Scripture can certainly be part of that experience, it does not need to be the whole focus. This is an opportunity to set aside time and focus to open your heart and your mind to the message God has for you, however God may choose to convey it.

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Author: Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur

Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur, editor of "Today's Catholic Homeschooling", is the mother of two biological sons and one adopted daughter. She is in her fifteenth year of homeschooling. She has a B.A. in History and Fine Art and a Master's Degree in Applied Theology. She is the author of "The Crash Course Guide to Catholic Homeschooling" and "The Fruits of the Mysteries of the Rosary". She blogs at spiritualwomanthoughts.blogspot.com