Monthly Archives: January 2010

Lectio Divina – Prayerfully Reading the Scriptures

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Lectio divina (Latin for “divine reading”) is a simple method of praying with Scripture. It was already known by the Church Fathers in the early days of the Church. Lectio divina was recommended by Saint Cyprian (a third-century bishop and martyr). It has been part of the prayer of Christians throughout the history of the Church. Monasteries kept the practice alive. Saint Benedict (480–547 A.D.) taught his monks to pray in this way 1500 years ago, and it is still a wonderful way to pray today.

Getting ready for Lectio Divina

FIND THE RIGHT TIME AND PLACE. Set aside a few minutes (aim for ten to fifteen minutes a day if you can manage it) in a quiet, comfortable place where you can be relatively free of distractions. Have your Bible available.
PRAY FOR HELP. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. You are about to have a conversation with God Himself; invite Him to take the lead in the conversation!

PICK A SCRIPTURE PASSAGE. Choose a Scripture passage as the subject of your prayer time. It should not be too long, perhaps a short Psalm (or a section of a longer one), a story from one of the Gospels, etc. We STRONGLY RECOMMEND using the Mass Readings of the Day. You can find them listed at http://www.usccb.org/nab/ . There are other ways to choose:

You might choose a book of the Bible that appeals to you, and read and pray with a little bit of it each day. The Psalms are great; they were Jesus’ prayer book, so they should be good enough for us! Or you might choose one of the Gospels or one of Paul’s letters.

QUIET YOUR MIND FOR A FEW MINUTES. Now you’re really ready to get started!
“If we delight in the law of God or the Word and mediate on it day and night, we will be blessed and prosper.” (Psalm 1:1-3)

The four stages of Lectio Divina
Lectio divina has four stages, or parts, each with its Latin name:

Lectio (reading)
Meditatio (meditation)
Oratio (prayer)
Contemplatio (contemplation)

1) Lectio (reading)
Read the passage.
Reread it again s-l-o-w-l-y, line by line, pausing from time to time. Notice any words or phrases that appeal to you or attract your attention.
You’re not reading just to get the gist of the story; every word or phrase can have meaning.

2) Meditatio (meditation)
Mull over the passage you have just read. Remember, this is God speaking to you. The words or phrases that caught your attention may contain God’s special message for you. (He speaks to each one of us in a unique and individual way. No two people will get the exact same thing out of the passage. And if you were to read it again a year from now, you might hear something different.)

Spend extra time thinking about the meaning of the words that “jumped out” at you. Ask yourself,
• What is God saying to my heart?
• How can I relate this passage to my daily life?
• What is God asking of me at this moment?

3) Oratio (prayer)
Now it’s your turn to speak. Respond to God’s word in silent prayer. What do you want to say back to God? The passage you just read may inspire you to …
• Thank God.
• Praise Him.
• Tell Him you are sorry about something.
• Give yourself to Him in complete trust.
• Ask Him for something you need. Has the passage brought to mind any personal needs you might have? Or the needs of others?
• Make a resolution. Has the passage prompted you to take some action in your life? To overcome a bad or sinful habit? To reach out to someone in need?

If you would like, you can go back to the Scripture passage and repeat the meditatio and oratio stages with another phrase or two. It’s up to you. Let the Holy Spirit lead you.

4) Contemplatio (contemplation)
When you are finished reading, listening, and talking to God, it’s time to just rest in His loving presence for a few minutes.
No words are needed. Be at peace and rest in silence before the Lord.
Just love Him, and let Him love you. (Kind of like a couple falling in love — sometimes it’s enough just to be in the same room together.)

Finish with a prayer of thanksgiving for the gifts and inspirations received during your prayer time. In JOURNALING – you can include your insights, prayer in writing.

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Keeping Our Eyes on Jesus

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Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while KEEPING OUR EYES ON JESUS, THE LEADER AND PERFECTER OF FAITH. Hebrews 12:2

We believe that to fix our eyes on Jesus is to first know who is Jesus! Many know about Jesus, but do we really know Jesus? We are able to fix our eyes on Jesus when we realize that He first sees us! When we realize the gaze of our Lord upon us; we aer never the same!

Jesus knows our minds, our hearts, our thoughts, our inner most being. And when we think about that and accept that reality; it can be a conversion experience that can lead us into a deeper relationship with the Son of God!

KEEPING OUR EYES ON JESUS can also help us realize the presence of God in every moment of our lives.

What do you think are obstacles in keeping your eyes on Jesus?

Afternoon Tea with St. Edith Stein

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Did you wonder how the English take time in the afternoon for tea? In fact, there is a verse in the song “Do-Re-Me” from the movie, Sound of Music that includes “…Te – A drink with jam and bread!…”. Well, the entire song, makes one learn music and for me…yes, enjoy a cup of tea! Reminds me of the old English society where men and women would share news, stories, or simply welcome one another in friendship!

Recently, in speaking with a couple of women, we thought it would be a great opportunity to have a “spiritual afternoon tea”.

So, Pilgrim Center of Hope would like to invite you for a cup of tea! For a time to enjoy a ‘spiritual break’ and be introduced to Saint Edith Stein! An introduction to a remarkable woman who lived in the 19th century and who died as a Carmelite Nun in a Concentration Camp in Germany.

So…come and enjoy a cup of tea, tea biscuits/pastries and a spiritually renewing break on Thursday, January 28th at 2Pm; ending at 3:15pm with Chaplet of Divine Mercy in the Center’s Chapel.

You are a testament to God’s grace.

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Have you ever asked yourself, “How in the world does God manage to do such an extensive amount of work through just two people – Deacon Tom & Mary Jane Fox?”

I’d say it’s a testament to the amazing grace of God. You know, it was God’s grace that brought Mary Jane and I to sit next to each other during a session of the Catholic New Media Celebration in summer 2009. That same grace prompted me, a somewhat quiet person, to introduce myself to her.

Today I’d like to introduce myself to you as the new Ministry Coordinator for the Pilgrim Center of Hope. My name is Angela Santana. I’m a native of San Antonio, which I believe has contributed to my love for God and His people.

Everyone has a story to tell – even you, reader! We at the Pilgrim Center of Hope wish to hear your story, because we believe that you and your life are a testament to God’s amazing grace. We invite you to our Center every weekday and during our weekend public events. Check our event calendar here to learn more about wonderful opportunities to meet, pray, and share with us.

If you are not close to the Pilgrim Center, we still want to meet you! Connect with us by leaving us a comment here, becoming our friends on Facebook, following us on Twitter, or by emailing us via our website.

What is your story of God’s grace? We look forward to seeing and hearing from you!

Evangelization: Are you living proof?

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What is the goal of evangelization?You can probably think of so many answers to this question. (To communicate God’s love, to spread the Good News, to bring Light to those in darkness, etc.) At the Pilgrim Center of Hope, we often answer this question with, “To guide individuals, families and neighborhoods toward finding a deeper relationship with Christ.” Indeed, today’s gospel reading invites us to realize the beautiful implications of this goal. Jesus unfolds a scroll from the book of Isaiah and reads:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.

From your own experience of encountering a deeper relationship with Christ, I know you certainly can relate to that liberation. As baptized Christians, we have been anointed by the Spirit of the Lord to do these things. Isn’t it astounding to think that God works such miracles through weak creatures like us?

Pope Paul VI in his encyclical, Evangelii Nuntiandi, put it this way:

The person who has been evangelized goes on to evangelize others. Here lies the test of truth, the touchstone of evangelization: it is unthinkable that a person should accept the Word and give himself to the kingdom without becoming a person who bears witness to it and proclaims it in his turn.(24)

Through our lives, every word and every action, we are representatives of Jesus Christ.

Do we realize that we are indeed anointed? Let us prayerfully discern this imperative question for the remaining days of the Christmas season: How much am I allowing the Spirit of God to work through me so that the poor, the captives, the blind, and the oppressed may see His Light and be liberated?

Want to learn more about evangelization? Feel free to visit us at the Pilgrim Center of Hope, a Catholic evangelization ministry. Online: http://www.pilgrimcenterofhope.org