This month is Bible month so the reflection is a little different.
Reconnect with each other.
Loving God, all of Scripture is inspired by you and can help us become more like Jesus (2 Timothy 3:16). Please speak to us through our experience of Sacred Reading and reflection today, and help us apply your truth to our lives. Amen.
Read the reflection
Lectio Divina - Bible Month
July is Bible Month in New Zealand, so we want to offer a taste of Lectio Divina, or Sacred Reading.
The Church has a long spiritual practice of reading Scripture slowly in a way that allows us to listen to a word or phrase that seems to â€˜speakâ€™. It started in monasteries where one monk would read the Word aloud during their silent meal and each person would let a word or phrase connect with them, then stop listening to focus purely on that one Word for them. It is a personal way of listening to the Holy Spirit, with the Word even in a group. It is not about reading big chunks of Scripture but about becoming spiritually attentive to the Word touching us inwardly, revealing something to us, perhaps about us, certainly within us. As we practice, we become attuned to the way God speaks. A fruit of this type of prayer is that we become more aware of God speaking in ordinary daily life. The events of our life begin to flow naturally in and out of prayer as we listen more to God speaking through the Word day by day.
The four steps of Lectio Divina are reading, meditation, prayer, and contemplation.
â€¢ Find a quiet place to read and relax enough to pray without interruption.
â€¢ Read a passage of scripture (Lectio)
â€¢ Meditate or Silently Reflect on the Scripture that stands out to you (Meditatio)
â€¢ Pray to be changed by what you have received and reflected upon (Oratio)
â€¢ Contemplate or Ponder the goodness of God and His Word (Contemplatio)
â€¢ In a group, discuss what each of you have gained from the prayer.
â€¢ Go out and live it (sometimes this step is called "actio" for "action.")Perhaps write a few key points with the Scripture reference and date in a journal especially if you are doing it on your own. This can help us notice the ongoing conversation we have with God.
A few points to remember:
â€¢ Resist the temptation to read a lot! Spiritual reading is slow reflective reading followed by quiet internal listening. We want to ponder the Word and what it says to me today. It is different from â€˜readingâ€™ a book or even â€˜studyingâ€™ Scripture. Spiritual reading, Scripture or written prayers can be used for sacred reading.
â€¢ Stop, stay, reflect with one event, phrase, or word that strikes you and be patient with it. I use the idea of sucking a boiled sweet or a cow chewing its cud. We go over and over the same word or phrase until all its goodness is released. We intentionally try to slow down almost as if in slow motion, but it doesnâ€™t mean taking hours; itâ€™s an inner slowing of the busy thoughts and emotions to pay attention to one thing - God.
â€¢ Having heard a word, the invitation is to â€˜respondâ€™. Use your imagination to consider what living in and from that â€˜wordâ€™ might look and feel like. Talk with God about that. What desire does it stir in you and how might the Holy Spirit be nudging you to act on that prompting?
BEGIN: Select the text. For Daily Mass readings or Sunday readings with reflections check out www.livingtheword.org.nz, which Marist Laity administers with the Sunday readings, or the new Catholic Bible website https://theword.nz/
â€¢ Ask the Holy Spirit to be with you as you read and reflect
â€¢ Read the passage once, reading it out loud if you are comfortable; even on your own this helps you both see and hear the Word.
â€¢ Read it for a second time to reflect on the reading. If anything is confusing use a commentary, or good Bible footnotes. Focus on any words or phrases that stand out and the sense or feelings that arise. Ask whether there is something that the Lord might be calling you to notice or pray about. What is the text saying to me? Keep slowly reading in a prayerful way until something strikes you. God is leading you to the words you need to hear. Sometimes the word or phrase can change as you re-read. Relax and allow the Spirit to guide you. We are trusting God to give us the word rather than generating it by our own efforts. Again, listen to whatever thoughts or feelings are experienced and begin a conversation with God about that. Be generous in waiting to allow time for God to speak. You can end this time of spiritual reading by summing up in a prayer of thanks what you have received or experienced from God. Even if you find the experience difficult it is still worthwhile. Try and ponder how you might live the word and message throughout your day or week. One of the things I try to do is to let it repeat in my thoughts like when a chorus from a song is stuck in my head.
Now letâ€™s try it with this Scripture. Get comfortable, close your eyes and listen for a moment to your breathing. Then I will begin, Iâ€™ll pause briefly, then Iâ€™ll read it again. The Scripture is on your sheet if you want to keep reading it also.
Isaiah 43: 1-5
Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.
I give Egypt as your ransom,
Cush and Seba in exchange for you.
4 Because you are precious in my eyes,
and honoured, and I love you,
I give men in return for you,
peoples in exchange for your life.
5 Fear not, for I am with you; (Repeated)
Now I suggest you keep reading that quietly as the music plays and in your own time, stop and begin to share together. God bless and enjoy Bible month. Bev
Starters to help your sharing
Listen carefully to each other, share your thoughts and reflect on how the Scripture passage impacted you.
1. Begin by each naming your personal word or phrase from the Scripture passage and what it means for you.
2. Use your imagination to consider what living in and from that â€˜wordâ€™ might look and feel like this week?
3. Finding time to pray or listen to God is challenging as a mum. How might this way of praying with Scripture help?
Conclude by Praying for Each Others needs
Then say this final prayer together
Thank you Lord for calling me by name and helping me know you love me and care for me just as I am. Guide me each day as a woman and as a mother. Teach me to relax into your love and let it flow to others, Amen.