A Little “How-To” Before We Begin
My paraphrase of the Gospel, putting the text into Jesus’ own words, is, of course, not a canonically approved translation. For this reason, I will cite each passage, chapter and verses, for you to read from your preferred translation, prior to reading my interpretation of Jesus’ telling. To begin, I suggest you read your version slowly and prayerfully, asking the Holy Spirit to open your mind and heart, asking the Holy Trinity to be present with you during your time of prayer.
Next, read the imaginative interpretation as narrated by Jesus. Realize that this comes from my limited perception, though I call on God’s Spirit to guide me in my writing each day before setting pen to paper.
Then, read the brief reflection, also written in the voice of Jesus. Listen to what he has to say to you. Ponder the questions he offers, especially any of them that seem to have meaning for you, or those that cause you to feel some resistance.
Finally, sit in silence for a while. Reflect, contemplate, resolve. Finish your time of prayer with a moment of thanksgiving for the gift of his presence in your life. Perhaps you will want to journal the insights the Lord has given you.
Note: Here is a very brief explanation of the four steps of Lectio Divina,(sacred reading) an ancient prayer form used in monasticism, but one that remains timely in our day and one that I turned to in writing this book of meditative reflections.
• Lectio (Reading): slowly read scripture or other sacred texts, seeking to understand God’s Word.
• Meditatio (Meditation): seek to understand and personalize the Word of God in your reading.
• Oratio (Prayer, Conversation): what he has said to you. Speak with intimacy as you talk to God, respond to him as you would with your most beloved friend. Express the emotions that the reading has sparked in you: desire, joy, repentance, thanksgiving.
• Contemplatio (Contemplation): sit quietly and listen; just be with your Beloved.
In the midst of our active lifestyles, finding time to pray is a challenge. It may require an earlier start to your day. I hope that you can find a minimum of 15 minutes for your prayer time. More is, of course, more useful, but any effort pleases God’s heart.
For me, early morning prayer sets the tone of the day. It is so easy to say “later” and somehow “later” runs away from you. In any case, choosing a set time is one important tool for success. What is most helpful is to set a routine that works for your lifestyle. That, of course, differs for each of us.
Next week I will offer you our first Reflection.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all the spiritual blessing of heaven in Christ.” Ephesians 1,3