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.
Monday 27th July: Matthew 13.31-35
The parables of the mustard seed and the wheat are both stories of growth. The mustard seed is especially astonishing, for the seed is little more than a grain of dust, which can grow into a six-foot shrub in in a single year. The astonishing effect of a pinch of yeast or leaven is obvious to anyone who has entered a kitchen. When may have Jesus told these parables? Perhaps when the disciples were depressed and anxious. Many Christian congregations are small, and some look to the future with anxiety. But the message here is that when we truly embrace the grace of God things grow beyond our imagination.
Tuesday 28th July: Matthew 13.36-43
Today’s reading repeats part of the reading we had a couple of Sundays ago. Although this is a parable of salvation and destruction at the last judgement, Matthew places the emphasis on the destruction of the seed sown by the devil. This would appear to act as an important corrective to the modern church's reluctance to even mention judgement and the possibility of condemnation. It rather begs the question: is judgement something that we take seriously today? And if not, should we?
Wednesday 29th July - St Martha: John 11.19-27
As Jesus arrives on the scene following the death of Lazarus, Martha declares her faith in the resurrection of the dead on the last day. What she doesn't seem to realise, though, is that Jesus is himself the resurrection and the life. There are many who seem to believe in some kind of life after death – some kind of heaven – far fewer, though, realise that it is only in and through Jesus that this becomes a reality.
Thursday 30th July: Matthew 13.47-53
Jesus called the disciples to be fishers of men. As some of them also earned their livelihood through fishing they would have been familiar with the wide nets used on the Sea of Galilee. These nets brought in all manner of things – good and bad. It's reminder that as they embark on their mission they are to reach out far and wide. All too often we reduce the mission of the Church. God, on the other hand, wants us to cast the net as wide as possible.
Friday 31st July: Matthew 13.54-58
Matthew tells us that Jesus didn't work many miracles in his home town because the people lacked faith. Matthew frequently stresses that faith is a pre-condition for Jesus’ works of power, and in his Gospel Jesus often says to those whom he has healed, ‘Your faith has won this for you’. In these stories faith is increased by the healing, but there must first be some faith in Jesus on the part of the person to be healed.
Saturday 1st August: Matthew 14.1-12
Sometimes first appearances are not all they seem. Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great, seems to be a powerful person. He has the power to imprison John and even to execute him. But who is actually more powerful—John bound and in prison, or Herod who acts first from pressure from Herodias, then out of fear for what people will think, and then to save face in front of his guests? Herod is pitiable. He is like the “reed swayed by the wind” (Mt 11:7). John on the other hand, only moves where the Spirit blows.
Sunday 2nd August: Matthew 14.13-21
When the disciples see that the people are hungry they ask Jesus to send them away so they can find their own food. But ultimately whatever food they could find in the surrounding villages wouldn't stay their hunger for long. Jesus, on the other hand, knows that there is only one food that can truly satisfy, and that is the bread of his body. In the feeding of the five thousand, then, we're reminded of the Eucharist in which Jesus feeds his people with the only bread that truly satisfies.
Monday 3rd August: Matthew 14.22-36
This is a telling moment. When Peter senses the strength of wind battering him he begins to sink. Out of fear he cries out "Lord, save me." And we're told that Jesus reached out his hand to save him. This is followed by the rebuke: "You of little faith." It's all too easy to focus on what we fear, or the trouble and threats that surround us. In this passage we're encouraged to put our faith in Jesus, knowing that he desires to save his faithful.