Our Synod
The members of the Johannesburg Archdiocesan Synod are to be congratulated on how frequently the “Word of God” is mentioned in their final document under the headings of “Spirituality and Formation”.

Our Synod clearly draws a link between:

THE WORD OF GOD     –     SPIRITUALITY –     LECTIO DIVINA

“Bible sharing, Lectio Divina, Family Scripture, Enthroning the Bible in homes, Youth sharing the Word” appear again and again.  All these will bring about, in the words of the Synod, “Intimacy with Jesus and the knowledge of the Father.”

Our Spirituality“The Word of God is the first source of all Christian spirituality.  It gives rise to a personal relationship with the living God and with his saving and sanctifying will.”  John Paul II

If we believe this then we are being called to fundamentally change the direction of our own spirituality.  Our spirituality will become Word of God centred.  Using the Bible will be integral to our daily spiritual living.  The Bible will become our first Book of  Prayer.

Lectio Divina

The Synod Documents frequently make mention of Lectio Divina.  This is not just another “Bible Sharing Method”.  It is important that we are clear in our understanding of this most profound way of praying.  It is first and foremost a method of personal prayer (entering into a conversation with our God).

Lectio Divina, means, Holy Reading.

It is, in reality, prayer that has its source and inspiration in Scripture – the Word of God.
“Prayer should accompany the reading of Sacred Scripture, so that God and man may talk together for, ‘we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine sayings.  (lectio divina)’”  DV 25

Early on in the life of the People of God – lectio divina was the most common method of prayer.  Sadly this practice gradually fell into disuse.
Prayer using Lectio Divina
I introduce you to the concept of the prayer circle of  Lectio Divina.

Read
Respond  (Pray)

Recognise  (Reflect)

READ

We begin by reading our text for the first of many times.
44The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sell all that he has and buys that field.  45Again. The Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.  46When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.   (Mt 13: 44-46)

RECOGNISE – (reflect, meditate)
There are many ways in which we can enter into the text.  We will start by looking for the repetitions.

44The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sell all that he has and buys that field.  45Again. The Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.  46When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.   (Mt 13: 44-46)

RESPOND – (Pray)
What word or phrase resonates with you?
Repeat this phrase/word and again and again, savouring it and letting it enter into your being.
How does it touch you?
Respond using your word/phrase in your prayer.

We have now completed the first circle and once more return to our text.

READ

RECOGNISE – the emotions here.
44The Kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field, which a person finds and hides again, and out of joy goes and sell all that he has and buys that field.  45Again. The Kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls.  46When he finds a pearl of great price, he goes and sells all that he has and buys it.   (Mt 13: 44-46)
The obvious emotion is “out of joy”.  Perhaps you can find other emotions; surprise, enthusiasm…

Can you think of a text in scripture that reflects this emotion of JOY?
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
My spirit rejoices in God my saviour.” Lk 1: 46-47

RESPOND

Respond to Jesus in prayer, filled with joy and gratitude for the wonderful characteristics you have and all the marvellous things in your life.

As our prayer ends we return to the text once more, reading it; commencing the circle of prayer once more.

Conclusion

We need the Scriptures to become an integral part of our spirituality.  This is a life-long journey with the Word.  Each day we allow the Word to speak to us as we take time to saviour, chew on and digest the Word of Life.

“How can all this happen?”
“Use the available resources,” says the Synod Document.
The Catholic Bible Foundation and the Catholic Bible College will accompany you as you Journey with the Word of God.

Catholic Bible College offers Scripture Correspondence Courses.  (011 435 7997)
Catholic Bible Foundation offers programmes in your parish to lead you as you grow in “Intimacy with Christ”. (011 435 7488)  (O31 303 1919)  (021 461 7647)