Sacred Scripture Commentary
It Takes Time
Today’s scripture readings speak of listening to God. In the first reading from the story of Jonah we have the residents of Nineveh listening to God’s message which Jonah proclaimed. They repent of their sinful ways. God forgives them and spares them.
In the Gospel we have the beautiful story of Martha and Mary from Luke’s 10th chapter. Mary listens to Jesus, spends time with Jesus and hears his words. Martha is too busy being the perfect hostess. Jesus praises Mary’s taking the time to be with him.
What might this mean for us, who are so busy about so many things? I believe many people don’t spend quality time with Jesus because they don’t quite know how to. I would like to recommend a very simple and traditional way of spending time with Jesus… Lection Divina.
The following is adapted from A Retreat with the Psalms, Enders and
Liebert, Paulist Press, 2001, pp 21ff)
Lectio Divina is monastic form of meditative prayer…Having a conversation with a text.
No set amount of time… just what feeds the soul / 10 min at the beginning.
Choose a text… could be the Bible, or something from spiritual reading… for example Psalm 23… or one of the Scripture stories… today’s Gospel perhaps.
At any time during this process the mind can wander and we can become distracted… or we can simply “dry up”…simply return to the lectio if you want to continue the prayer.
Lectio Divino need not proceed according to the steps outlined… you can move from lectio to oratio to comtemplatio, then back to oratio and meditatio…
You might want to take a few moments after your prayer to write down the major movements which you experienced….
Keeping a prayer journal can be helpful…
Be patient with this type of prayer, and perhaps talk it over with your spiritual director, or with a spiritually mature friend…. Don’t be a loner!
Spend time with Jesus. It’s a beautiful way of getting to know and love Jesus.
Father Donald Ware, C.P.