Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Time to pray

As I was praying this morning I thought about the practice of “Lectio Divina”, the ancient prayer of the Church.  It means sacred reading, most often of Sacred Scripture. Our Sisters pray Lectio Divina each morning during our Common Prayer.
Here is today’s Gospel reading: 
As Jesus was passing through a field of grain on the sabbath, his disciples began to make a path while picking the heads of grain. At this the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry? How he went into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the bread of offering that only the priests could lawfully eat, and shared it with his companions?” Then he said to them, “The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath. That is why the Son of Man is lord even of the sabbath.”
As I prayed with the Gospel, the Lord seemed to show me that, like David, there are many times when I am spiritually hungry and spiritually in need.  I too need to go to the chapel, to our own “holy of holies” and ask our Divine Savior in the Blessed Sacrament to satisfy my longing, my hunger for Him.  He feeds us Himself with the bread of life,  His very Body and Blood.   
Here is an excerpt from Benedictine Father Luke Dysinger’s work on “Lectio Divina”.  He is well-known for his teachings on this ancient practice of prayer:                                                                           ++++++
CHOOSE a text of the Scriptures that you wish to pray. Many Christians use in their daily lectio divina one of the readings from the Eucharistic liturgy for the day; others prefer to slowly work through a particular book of the Bible. It makes no difference which text is chosen, as long as one has no set goal of “covering” a certain amount of text: the amount of text “covered” is in God's hands, not yours.
PLACE YOURSELF in a comfortable position and allow yourself to become silent. Some Christians focus for a few moments on their breathing; other have a beloved “prayer word” or “prayer phrase” they gently recite in order to become interiorly silent. For some the practice known as “centering prayer” makes a good, brief introduction to lectio divina. Use whatever method is best for you and allow yourself to enjoy silence for a few moments.
THEN TURN to the text and read it slowly, gently. Savor each portion of the reading, constantly listening for the “still, small voice” of a word or phrase that somehow says, “I am for you today.” Do not expect lightening or ecstasies. In lectio divina God is teaching us to listen to Him, to seek Him in silence. He does not reach out and grab us; rather, He softly, gently invites us ever more deeply into His presence.
NEXT TAKE the word or phrase into yourself. Memorize it and slowly repeat it to yourself, allowing it to interact with your inner world of concerns, memories and ideas. Do not be afraid of “distractions.” Memories or thoughts are simply parts of yourself which, when they rise up during lectio divina, are asking to be given to God along with the rest of your inner self. Allow this inner pondering, this rumination, to invite you into dialogue with God.
THEN, SPEAK to God. Whether you use words or ideas or images or all three is not important. Interact with God as you would with one who you know loves and accepts you. And give to Him what you have discovered in yourself during your experience of meditatio. Experience yourself as the priest that you are. Experience God using the word or phrase that He has given you as a means of blessing, of transforming the ideas and memories, which your pondering on His word has awakened. Give to God what you have found within your heart.
FINALLY, SIMPLY rest in God's embrace. And when He invites you to return to your pondering of His word or to your inner dialogue with Him, do so. Learn to use words when words are helpful, and to let go of words when they no longer are necessary. Rejoice in the knowledge that God is with you in both words and silence, in spiritual activity and inner receptivity.
SOMETIMES IN lectio divina one will return several times to the printed text, either to savor the literary context of the word or phrase that God has given, or to seek a new word or phrase to ponder. At other times only a single word or phrase will fill the whole time set aside for lectio divina. It is not necessary to anxiously assess the quality of one's lectio divina as if one were “performing” or seeking some goal: lectio divina has no goal other than that of being in the presence of God by praying the Scripture.”





1 comment:

Steve Finnell said...


Jesus said you must be born again to enter the kingdom of God. What did He mean by that statement?

John 3:1-3......3 Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly , I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."(NKJV)

Jesus did not tell Nicodemus that he had to be born the first time in order to enter the kingdom of God. He said you must be born again!

Jesus did not tell Nicodemus that he had to exist in order to enter the kingdom of God. Every person alive, exists, how could that be a requirement to enter the kingdom of God? Jesus said he had to be born again.

Being born of water (amniotic fluid) by natural birth is being born the first time, it is not being born again.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. (NKJV)

Jesus said you must born of water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God. Remember in John 3:3 Jesus said "You must be born again." Water can mean nothing but water baptism (immersion). Water and the Spirit are both qualifications in order to be born again.

John 3:5 Jesus answered: I tell you for certain that before you can get into God's kingdom, you must be born not only by water, but by the Spirit. (Contemporary English Version)

John 3:5 Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition)

John 3:5 Jesus said, 'I tell you the truth. This new birth is by water and by the Spirit. No person can enter God's kingdom if he has not been born that way. (Worldwide English New Testament)



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