Saint Antony Mary Claret, Bishop ●
Make whatever preparations you need to leave the shadow world behind and encounter the fire of the Spirit and the light of God.
If you have chosen a specific bodily position, adopt it. If you have chosen to prepare the space and the place in some way (perhaps drawing a curtain or lighting a candle), make that preparation.
Eliminate distractions and the possibility of interruption.
Sign of the Cross
We invoke God, in whose name we act and to whom we are about to open ourselves.
In the name of the Father, ✠
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit,
Invocation of the Holy Spirit
We invoke the Holy Spirit, who will speak to us and listen in us.
Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created.
And you shall renew the face of the earth.
Act of Contrition
By acknowledging our sinfulness and admitting that by ourselves we can do nothing that is not flawed, we ask God to take the initiative in this encounter.
Have mercy on us, O Lord:
For we have sinned against you.
Show us, O Lord, your mercy:
And grant us your salvation.
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to Luke.
The Gospel should be read slowly, meditatively, with pauses between sentences or whenever the sense requires it. The aim is not to tell the text to God, who knows it already, but to let God tell it to us. For this, there have to be silences so that what God is telling us can be heard.
When a group is doing Lectio Divina, it is usually best to take turns in reading the words of the Gospel, since for many people speaking will bring the words to mind better than hearing does. But do not let this become a distraction in itself: have a clear order known in advance, and a simple signal for handing over the baton from one person to the next.
Was it not right to untie this woman’s bonds on the sabbath day?
One sabbath day Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who for eighteen years had been possessed by a spirit that left her enfeebled; she was bent double and quite unable to stand upright. When Jesus saw her he called her over and said, ‘Woman, you are rid of your infirmity’ and he laid his hands on her. And at once she straightened up, and she glorified God.
But the synagogue official was indignant because Jesus had healed on the sabbath, and he addressed the people present. ‘There are six days’ he said ‘when work is to be done. Come and be healed on one of those days and not on the sabbath.’ But the Lord answered him. ‘Hypocrites!’ he said ‘Is there one of you who does not untie his ox or his donkey from the manger on the sabbath and take it out for watering? And this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan has held bound these eighteen years – was it not right to untie her bonds on the sabbath day?’ When he said this, all his adversaries were covered with confusion, and all the people were overjoyed at all the wonders he worked.
Hanc filiam Abrahæ non oportuit solvi a vinculo die sabbati?
In illo témpore:
Erat Iesus docens in una synagogárum sábbatis. Et ecce múlier, quæ habébat spíritum infirmitátis annis decem et octo et erat inclináta nec omníno póterat sursum respícere.
Quam cum vidísset Iesus, vocávit et ait illi: «Múlier, dimíssa es ab infirmitáte tua», et impósuit illi manus; et conféstim erécta est et glorificábat Deum.
Respóndens autem archisynagógus, indígnans quia sábbato curásset Iesus, dicébat turbæ: «Sex dies sunt, in quibus opórtet operári; in his ergo veníte et curámini et non in die sábbati».
Respóndit autem ad illum Dóminus et dixit: «Hypócritæ, unusquísque vestrum sábbato non solvit bovem suum aut ásinum a præsépio et ducit adaquáre? Hanc autem fíliam Abrahæ, quam alligávit Sátanas ecce decem et octo annis, non opórtuit solvi a vínculo isto die sábbati?».
Et cum hæc díceret, erubescébant omnes adversárii eius, et omnis pópulus gaudébat in univérsis, quæ glorióse fiébant ab eo.
What does the Gospel say to me?
God has willed me to be here, now, today, for a reason. Now is the time to reflect, and find that reason, and hear what God has chosen to tell me.
A good pattern is this:
– What has drawn my attention or struck me in some way?
– Why? Was it a person? A word? A situation? A gesture?
– What, therefore, is God saying to me through these words, here and now, today?
The “I” and the “me” are important. To say “we” or “us” is to evade the encounter by softening the focus and hiding behind membership of a group. The meeting with Jesus is face to face, one to one.
The shared echo
When several people are doing Lectio together, especially if they do so regularly, then there is the opportunity for each person to share the words that have had the most impact in today’s passage, or the message it has conveyed.
There is no obligation to share an echo, and some members may take many meetings before sharing one, or may even never do so.
An echo is what struck me – not “you” or “us”. It is not a mini-sermon or a carefully crafted uplifting thought. Echoes do not have echoes. The sharing of echoes and the listening to echoes are not a discussion aiming at a conclusion, but the opening of one heart to another.
The experience of sharing echoes brings the group closer together. Over time, its power grows.
God has spoken to me. What do I reply?
Silently, each of us responds to what God has said to him through the passage we have read and even through the echoes we have heard.
As a matter of human practicality, one person should be responsible for deciding the time taken for silent prayer. Even better, a timer or hourglass can be used. Otherwise “Are we nearly there yet?” can be a potent distraction.
Sometimes we may be led beyond prayer into a quiet and attentive resting in the presence of God.
We prepare to return to the everyday world, carrying with us what we have received in our minds and our hearts today.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
May the Lord bless us, and keep us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.