Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Prayer for the Intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi (Br. JNMatias, ofs)

In line with the feast of our Seraphic Father, Francis this October, let me share with you a prayer composed by a Secular Franciscan brother, Br. Jesus Matias, OFS

Prayer for the Intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi

Seraphic Saint Francis
you, who found true heavenly happiness

in the perfect understanding of the Incarnation of our Lord
through your childlike trust in the providence of the Father;

in the perfect imitation of the life and ministry of our Divine Master,
through your patient endurance of daily hardships;

in the perfect reflection of the redeeming Passion of our Savior
through your painful burden of bearing the wounds of the stigmata;

may you intercede for us that we may, with purity of heart
be given the steadfast faith of our Blessed Mother Mary
to persevere in the practice of the holy virtues;

be given the strong love and courage of the saints
to persevere in the mission of the Church to the poor;

and be given the joyful hope of Saint Joseph
to persevere in the lifelong witnessing of the Gospels
which leads to everlasting peace.


Friday, September 18, 2009


I. Private Lectio Divina

1. Choose a text of the Scriptures that you wish to pray. You may go through a particular book of the Bible by the use of the daily readings from the liturgy for the day is commonly done. Bear in mind that whatever you text you choose is the text that God will use to speak to you.

2. Place yourself in comfortable position and silence yourself. Go over the exercise on silence on the previous post.

3. Turn to the selected biblical text and read it slowly. Savor each portion of the reading, constantly listening to that ‘still, small voice’ of a word or phrase. There is nothing dramatic to expect. God is teaching us to listen to Him, to seek Him in silence. He softly, gently invites us ever more deeply into His presence.

4. Take the word or phrase and slowly digest it. Memorize it, repeating it to yourself, allowing it to interact with your concerns, memories and ideas. Note that random thoughts, memories or experiences are parts of you that are to be presented to God along with the rest of yourself. Allow every thought to invite you into dialogue with God.

5. Speak to God. Using words, ideas or images, interact with Him as you would with one who you know loves and accepts you. Offer to Him everything you have discovered about yourself during your experience of meditatio. Experience God using the word or phrase that He has given you as a means of blessing, of transforming the ideas and memories, which your pondering on His word has awakened.

6. Finally, rest in God's embrace. If He invites you to return to your pondering of His word or to your inner dialogue with Him, do so. Learn to use words when words are helpful, and to let go of words when they no longer are necessary. Rejoice in the knowledge that God is with you in both words and silence, in spiritual activity and inner receptivity.

There will be times when one will find it necessary to return to the printed text or to seek a new word or phrase to ponder. At other times, only a single word or phrase will fill the whole time set aside for the whole exercise. Do not be anxious about getting ‘good results’. Lectio divina being in the presence of God by praying the Scriptures.

2. Lectio Divina in Fraternity

(Note: The exercise below, done in a group of four to eight people, is for the encouraging the practice of lectio divina and should not become a substitute for the authentic form of lectio divina which is done in private.)

Listening for the Gentle Touch of Christ the Word (The Literal Sense)

1. One person reads aloud the passage from the scripture twice as others listen attentively to a segment that is especially meaningful to them.
2. Everyone maintains silence for about one to two minutes. Each person silently repeats the word or phrase that had attracted him the most.
3. Each person shares a simple statement regarding the word or phrase that has caught his attention. No elaboration will be made.

Christ the Word is speaking (The Allegorical Sense)

4. Another person recites the same passage read previously.
5. Everyone remains silent for two to three minutes. Each person reflects on the content of this reading and its significance on his life for that day.
6. Each person shares his experience briefly stating, ‘I hear, I see...’

What Christ the Word’s invitation (The Moral Sense)

7. Another person recites the same passage read again.
8. Everyone remains silent for two to three minutes, with each reflecting on what God want him to do for the day or week.
9. At a greater length, share the results of each one's reflection.
10. Listen attentively to the person seated on your right.
11. Silently pray for the person to your right.

2. Lectio Divina applied to one’s personal history
This is a method of prayerful reflection to a life/work incident instead of to a scripture passage.
Listening for the Gentle Touch of Christ the Word (The Literal Sense)

1. Review events, situations or encounters that have happened since the beginning of a retreat/or during the last month at work.

Reflecting (Meditatio - Meditation)

2. Try to remember the ‘peaks’ of such events, situations or encounters and ask yourself in what ways God seems to be present and the extent of one’s awareness was then and now.

Prayerful Consecration, Blessing (Oratio - Prayer)

3. Using a word or phrase from the Scriptures, offer up to God in prayer that incident. Allow God to accept and bless them as your gift.

Acceptance of Christ's Embrace (Contemplatio - Contemplation)

4. Remain in silence for some period.

Sharing Lectio Experiences (Operatio - Action; works)

5. Members of the fraternity share their experiences briefly or remain in continuing silence.

Friday, September 11, 2009


Lectio Divina is an ancient spiritual art that is being rediscovered in our day. It allows the Scriptures to become a means of uniting us with God. In lectio divina we discover our own underlying spiritual rhythm. We experience God between spiritual activity and receptivity, in the movement from practice into contemplation and back again into spiritual practice.
Lectio Divina teaches us about the God who truly loves us. In it we believe that our loving Father continues to extend His embrace to us. In His word we experience ourselves as personally loved by God; as the recipients of a word that He gives uniquely to each of us whenever we turn to Him in the Scriptures.
FINALLY, Lectio Divina teaches us about ourselves. In it we discover that there is no place in ourselves that cannot be opened and offered to God. God teaches us what it means to be members of His royal priesthood - a people called to consecrate all of our memories, our hopes and our dreams to Christ.
In September 2005, Pope Benedict XVI stated:
‘I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of Lectio divina: the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart (cf. Dei Verbum, n. 25). If it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church - I am convinced of it - a new spiritual springtime. next post... Exercise:The Practice of LECTIO DIVINA.

Friday, September 4, 2009

LECTURE ON LECTIO DIVINA ...Third Part -The Process of Lectio Divina

Lectio Divina has been likened to ‘Feasting on the Word.’ The four parts are first taking a bite (Lectio), then chewing on it (Meditatio). Next is the opportunity to savor the essence of it (Oratio). Finally, the Word is digested and made a part of the body (Contemplatio).


Lectio is where we read or listen the Word of God, slowly and reflectively so that it sinks into us. This consists in reading the scriptural passage slowly, attentively several times. It is important to cultivate the ability to listen deeply ‘with the ear of our hearts’. We read the Scriptures as the prophet Elijah did, allowing ourselves to listen for the still, soft, small voice of God; the ‘faint murmuring sound’ of God's voice touching our hearts.

Reading or listening to the Word is not like reading or listening to periodicals or pocketbooks. Lectio is reverential listening in a spirit of silence and of awe. We are listening for the still, small voice of God that will speak to us personally – not loudly, but intimately. We read slowly, attentively, gently listening to hear a word or phrase that is God's word for us this day.

Any passage of Scripture can be used for this way of prayer but the passage should not be too long. Many write down words in the scripture that stick out to them or grasp their attention during this moment.


The second stage is meditatio where we think about the text we have chosen and meditate upon it so that we take from it what God wants to give us.

Once we have found a word or a passage in the Scriptures that speaks to us in a personal way, we must take it in and meditate on it. The invitation to meditate on the Word is similar to the manner the Virgin Mary pondered in her heart what she saw and heard of Christ (Luke 2:19). For us today these images are a reminder that we must take in the word - that is, memorize it - and while gently repeating it to ourselves, allow it to interact with our thoughts, our hopes, our memories, our desires. We allow God's word to become His word for us, a word that touches us and affects us at our deepest levels.


This stage is a response to the passage by opening the heart to God. It is not an intellectual exercise, but an intuitive conversation or dialogue with God, where we leave our thinking aside and simply let our hearts speak to God in prayer.
Prayer is dialogue with God, a conversation with the One who has first invited us into His embrace. It is an act of consecration of ourselves that we have not previously believed God wants. In prayer we allow the word to touch and change our deepest selves. God invites us to offer our most difficult and painful experiences to Him, and to gently recite over them the word He has given us in our lectio and meditatio. In this oratio, we allow our real selves to be touched and changed by the word of God.


The last stage of Lectio Divina is contemplation, when we finally rest in the presence of the One who has used His word as a means of inviting us to accept His transforming embrace. We let go not only of our own ideas, plans and meditations but also of our holy words and thoughts. Wordless and quiet, we begin to listen at the deepest level of our being to God who speaks within us with a still small voice. As we listen, we are gradually transformed from within. Once again we practice silence, letting go of our own words; this time simply enjoying the experience of being in the presence of God.

Operatio – the application

Sharing our Lectio Experience with Each Other (Operatio - Action; works)
Obviously this transformation will have a profound effect on the way we actually live and the way we live is the test of the authenticity of our prayer. We must take what we read in the Word of God into our daily lives.
As a contemplative practice, Lectio Divina is practiced to enable the practitioner to creatively engage with scripture on various levels depending on one's educational background and spiritual strengths. The expected outcome will be a deeper knowledge of scripture, oneself, others and God, and to see all these in gradually increasing light of faith. to be continued...
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