If you are looking for my blog titled, The Contemplative Catholic Convert, you are at the right spot.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Strategies for Prayer -- eighth in a series

Lord, teach us to pray (Luke 11:1)

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (paragraph 2728) continues its teaching regarding prayer this way: Finally, our battle has to confront what we experience as failure in prayer: discouragement during periods of dryness . . . The conclusion is always the same: what good does it do to pray? To overcome these obstacles, we must battle to gain humility, trust, and perseverance.

Dryness. Discouragement. Distractions. I have experienced many reasons and made many excuses to avoid time with God in prayer. My earlier posts highlighted several strategies I have used to keep focused on prayer. Lectio Divina is another. Actually, I’ve practiced lectio divina for decades – without knowing it had a name.

Lectio Divina is an ancient form of prayer often associated with the monastic tradition. It’s description is more detailed than what I am about to tell you (you can find more information by clicking this link), but essentially I practice lectio divina each time I read  the Scriptures and ask myself two questions: What is the writer trying to convey to his readers, and what might the Holy Spirit be trying to convey to me in the passage? While I mull the questions over and over in my mind, sometimes nothing comes to me. At other times I gain new insight into my walk of faith. And, if a particular verse in text catches my attention, I memorize it and speak it back to God as a form of prayer.

The Scriptures are an integral part of any Christian’s faith walk with Christ. Indeed, it is so important to our spiritual lives, the Catechism tells the Catholic faithful: 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 (paragraph 133).

Lectio Divina is very special to my time with the Lord because He so often speaks with me through the Biblical text. I don’t know how I could mature in my faith and in my relationship with Christ without constant nourishment on His Word. Thus, it is no surprise the Church teaches: And such is the force and power of the Word of God that it can serve the Church as her support and vigor, and the children of the Church as strength for their faith, food for the soul, and a pure and lasting fount of spiritual life." Hence "access to Sacred Scripture ought to be open wide to the Christian faithful" (Catechism paragraph 131).

Two essays I’ve posted to this blog in months past are examples of reflections born out of Lectio Divina:  Sometimes It Causes Me to Tremble  &  Sunday is Coming.

I’ll post yet another of my prayer strategies next time.

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