Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Praying With Sacred Scripture

Thank you for joining us in our second spiritual reflection! As I mentioned, these reflections are being offered especially for young women discerning a possible vocation to the religious life, as a way of assisting them in their spiritual growth.

Last week, we reflected on Our Blessed Lady’s spirit of interior prayer in Luke 1-2. We hope that you had the opportunity to prayerfully read and ponder those two chapters of St. Luke’s Gospel. If not, it is still a perfect time to do so, as we approach the fourth week of Advent.

This week we will look at the importance of praying with Scripture and propose a simple method. Paragraph 133 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, referencing St. Jerome, Dei Verbum and Philippians 3:8 states that “the Church ‘forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful . . . to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.’’ Mother Church would like us to pray with Scripture. Anyone discerning a vocation would do well to carve a little time into her day, perhaps a good fifteen minutes, for this sacred activity.

Here is a simple method of praying with Sacred Scripture:

1. Invoke the Holy Spirit. It is important to invoke the Holy Spirit before reading the Scriptures, so that He may teach you interiorly and open your heart to receive the Word. One could start with the prayer Come Holy Spirit or some similar prayer.

2. Read prayerfully, slowly, not out of curiosity, stopping to reflect and meditate when something strikes you.

3. Speak and Listen. Speak with the Lord about it, applying it to your relationship with Him. Listen to what the Lord may be saying to you. Express your affections of love, thanksgiving, repentance, and adoration to Him. Rest in His presence.

4. What is He asking of you today through His Word? Is He calling you to greater generosity in some area of your life – to the practice of charity or some other virtue, to the overcoming of some fault, or to a deepening of your prayer life? Resolve to put your love for God into action in a specific way this day.

5. Thank God for the graces received during your time of prayer. Ask Him for the grace you need, so that your time of prayer will bear the fruit He desires. Ask Our Lady to help you to be ever more faithful to her Son this day.

What Scriptures should I meditate upon? The liturgical Scripture readings for the upcoming Sunday, and those of the weekdays are highly recommended for all. An excellent companion for your meditation and prayer with the Solemnity and Sunday Scriptures are Dr. Scott Hahn’s Sunday Bible Reflections and the Bibles Studies of St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church in Picayune, Mississippi, both of which are available online, at no cost, and are linked at Dr. Hahn's St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology . There are many insights into the connection between the readings and a deeper understanding of the readings, all in accordance with the teaching of the Magisterium. Next week we will also discuss the importance of growing in our overall knowledge of Scripture, translations, interpretation and resources, together with a very simple way you can get started.

Our prayer for you is that this Advent you will grow in your love for Sacred Scripture and make it a part of your daily prayer. “Speak Lord, for thy servant hears.” (1 Sam 3:9).

If anyone would like to be added to the group who receive these weekly reflections directly to their email, please contact us with your email address and we will be happy to include you in our group. Gaudete!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Advent with Our Lady

This is the first in a series of reflections on growing in the spiritual life, especially for young women who are discerning a vocation to the religious life. We hope to cover a variety of spiritual topics as well as answer questions about vocations to the religious life in general or specifically to the Sisters of Our Lady Immaculate, as they come to us. Thank you for joining us!