praying with God's word
Lectio divina, or sacred reading, is an ancient monastic practice of scriptural reading, meditation and prayer.
You are invited to take time to read and contemplate a reading from the Church’s daily lectionary. The reference for each day is below along with a short comment for your reflection.
Find a quiet space, perhaps light a candle, and keep a moment of silence in order to feel the presence of our Lord deep within you.
Commit your prayer to God by saying "In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen."
Then say the 'Collect for Purity'.
unto whom all hearts be open,
all desires known,
and from whom no secrets are hid:
cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love thee,
and worthily magnify thy holy name;
through Christ our Lord.
Now read the Bible passage slowly and prayerfully. Savour the words, perhaps picture the scene in your mind. Read the reflection and then re-read the passage. Now spend some time in silent reflection and contemplation.
In response you can offer your own prayers and thanksgivings. Finish with the Lord’s Prayer and the Grace.
Diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart.
Friday 22nd May: John 16:20-23
Jesus said: “Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.”What a promise and encouragement to pray. But the goal of prayer is not only to ask and to receive. The process of prayer itself is the most important part of it, because in it lays our Christian formation. The time we spend in the presence of God, in silence or in noise, whispering or shouting, crying or rejoicing, with our eyes open or closed, on our knees or lying in our bed… this process of being in the presence of God and waiting on him, is transforming for our mind, our soul, for our spirit. It makes us different, it makes us loving and understanding, it makes us better and it brings us closer to God and closer to others.
Saturday 23rd May: John 16:23-28
Jesus said: “The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father.” Even the apostles had difficulties to understand Jesus’ parables and he had to explain its meaning when they were away from the crowds and alone. But the hour is coming when all will be revealed, he says. Not through the parables nor stories, not in the word nor in the proverbs but in the cross of Christ. By dying on Calvary Jesus told us plainly of the Father. In this sacrificial and self offering act, Jesus showed us the power of Father’s love for us and the power of his mercy. All is forgiven, all is restored.
Sunday 24th May: John 17:1-11
Jesus said: “And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” In this one sentence Jesus enclosed the whole mystery of salvation. People now, as well as throughout the history had different ideas as to what it is to have the eternal life, and what do you have to do to receive it. Jesus puts it very plainly: eternal life it is “to know the one true God”. Not to know of God or to have an idea of God, but to know Him. It is to know Jesus Christ, and not just to believe in something. It means to have a close and personal relationship with him. It means to follow him daily, to listen to his word.
Monday 25th May: John 16:29-33
Jesus said: “I am not alone because the Father is with me.” How often do we forget this fundamental truth about God. When we face difficulties and trials. When we experience problems and are in fear. When we celebrate our joys and the excitement of life… All those emotions seem to erase this truth from our life. But in all of this - God is with us. We are never alone, with him we can share everything.
Tuesday 26th May, St Augustine of Canterbury: Matthew 11:25-30
Jesus said: “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Looking at today’s Gospel it is hard not to make a connection with the saint of the day, Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury. Sent to England by St Pope Gregory the Great with a group of 40 monks in 697 to preach the gospel of Christ and to take upon upon his yoke. Very quickly he covered and baptised king Ethelbert of Kent. Following the example of Jesus in gentleness and humility of heart he was faithfully preaching the message of salvation to all, establishing churches and monasteries across the land. From his day to the present there has ben an unbroken line of succession of the Archbishops of Canterbury, whose enthronement takes place in the “chair of St Augustine” in Canterbury Cathedral. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me” by following those simple words one can change the history of nations.
Wednesday 27th May: Luke 10:1-9
Jesus said: “The harvest is plentiful, but the labourers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out labourers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out…” Even though this story in the Gospel of Luke tells us about the appointment and the mission of the Seventy, it is a charge that we should all take to heart. We are all sent out, into the world as the messengers of his love and of his hope. But in those words we can also find encouragement to pray for “the labourers” - for new vocations to ministry, lay and ordained. Spend a moment today praying for courage for those who are feeling the call to ministry, that they will say “yes” to God and they will follow His voice.
Thursday 28th May: John 17:20-26
Jesus said: “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.” A prayer for unity. Jesus asks the Father for the unity of the Church. Something that is really beyond our imagination. The Church is divided in so many ways, dogmatically, liturgically, politically, historically, etc… It is hard to even start to imagine how can we all come together in visible unity. And yet Jesus says: “that they may be all one”. We can all join in prayer with him using his words and say: “Father may we all be one”. This prayer is act of hope and faith in God’s promises.
Friday 29th May: John 21:15-19
Jesus said: “Simon son of John, do you love me?” After morning meal together Peter hears an unexpected question: “do you love me?” Of course I love you Lord… After Peter’s betrayal, when Jesus was imprisoned and questioned by the priests and the scribes, he asks: “do you love me?” After he was left alone with no one to help in the Gethsemane garden, when Peter and the others escaped in the moment of Jesus’ arrest, his only words are: “do you love me?” Love is the only thing that counts, because it is the source of forgiveness. He forgave our sins because he loved us first, the only thing he asks in return is this question: “do you love me?”
Saturday 30th May: John 21:20-25
“But there are also many other things that Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” Amazing words to finish the book of the Gospel with. Not quite like the book reviews we can often find in newspapers “in this book you will find everything you need…” or “this is the complete account of…” No, here the author stands in aww and humility saying, I’ve written everything I could, everything I remembered and thought was important, but there is so much more to who he was and what he did. It is simply impossible to put it in a book. Those words show not only the greatness of Jesus, but also the greatness of his mission. Greatness “that the world itself could not contain”. Those words are an invitation, to know him more deeply, to follow him daily, to learn from him.