Prayer and Praying: November 2003 Archives

Sharing from Lectio--The Gospel of Mark


In case you haven't noticed, I'm not in any real hurry to get through the Gospel of Mark. The pace is uncannily slow, and yet, every time I open up the Gospel this first chapter screams at me to spend more time and to truly understand the message intended for me. I offer the following not as exegesis or a pretence of some profound explication of the realities of scripture, but as a model of what one can do in the course of lectio and to encourage all to give it a try--daily if possible. Always check your conclusions and "revelations" against the truth revealed in the treasury of the Magisterium, but listen to the Spirit of God breathed out through the words of Scripture as well. The two cannot conflict, and so, if you come to some conclusion counter to that of the Church, discard it as a fancy, a momentary aberration of thought in the course of deep meditation. And always pray and ask God how you might apply what you have gained in the course of your meditation and prayer to the betterment of your life in God. He reveals what He reveals for a reason.

You'll note in the excerpt below, three different movements from three different times of prayer over this scripture. I excerpt to remove much of what is entirely personal and only share the things that may have broader implications and utility.

A Sharing from Lection on the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 1

Mark 1: 7-8 The Preaching of John the Baptist

7 And he preached, saying, "After me comes he who is mightier than I, the thong of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.
8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

Now we know that these are not the only words the Baptist preached. One wonders what else he was saying at the time. Whatever it was, it compelled a great many people to make a long and hazardous trip into the desert to hear him. He had a powerful and persuasive voice and a way of conveying the urgency of the coming kingdom.

The vast sands of the parched wilderness stretch out to touch the deep blue sky. The river itself is a silver gash, alive with ripples. Where are these people in their masses and hordes coming from? What truth do they see in this strange man? And how do I learn to see the same thing? How can I look past the merely unpleasing and see what God is doing? How do I learn not to seek the favor of others by agreeing where agreement is not required? We all must, to some degree begin or become prophetic and our setvice is to all the world, but most particularly we are called to witness to the efficacy of repentence--we best proclaim the Father's love for us as repentant sinners. Our joy is in the Lord who was at this moment in the narrative still unknown.

[2]So here is the problem for each of us--we need to find the desert in which we must dwell to better hear the sweet name of the Lord who redeems us. He speaks to us continually, and we don't hear it--we long to hear his voice and yet we stop our ears against the sound of it. I fear failure so much that often I do not even try--the cost seems too high. The cost is nothing less than all that I am and all that I have.

[3]Repentance and forgiveness go hand-in-hand

From Barclay's Commetary on the Gospel of Mark

A man must make confession to God. The end of pride is the beginning of forgiveness. It is when a man says, "I have sinned," that God gets the chance to say, "I forgive." It is not the man who desires to meet God on equal terms who will discover forgiveness, but the man who kneels in humble contrition and whispers through his shame, "God be merciful to me a sinner."

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Quote of the Day


"Prayer should be accomplished by grace and not by artifice. "
--St.Jane Frances de Chantal

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In his article "Meditating Day and Night: Keeping Vigil in Prayer," Fr. Carlos Mesters offers five different sorts of helps to those who would like to pray using the Bible. An excerpt of this excellent succinct guide follows:

from "Meditating Day and Night: Keeping Vigil in Prayer"
Fr. Carlos Mesters, O. Carm

When you begin a lectio divina of the Bible, you are not concerned with study. You are not going to read the Bible in order either to increase your knowledge or to prepare for some apostolate. Neither are you reading the Bible in order to have some extraordinary experience. You are going to read the Word of God in order to listen to what God has to say to you, to know his will and thus to live more deeply in allegiance to Jesus Christ (Prologue). There must be poverty in you; you must also have the disposition which the old man Eli recommended to Samuel: Speak, Lord, your servant is listening (1 Sam 3:10).

2 Listening to God does not depend on you or on the effort you make. It depends entirely on God, on his freely made decision to come into dialogue with you and to allow you to listen to his voice. Thus you need to prepare yourself by asking God to send his Spirit, since without the Spirit of God, it is impossible to discover the meaning of the Word which God had prepared for us today (cf. Jn 14:26;16:13; Lk 11:13).

3 It is important to create the right surroundings, which will facilitate recollection and an attentive listening to the Word of God. For this, you must build your cell within and around you, and you must stay in it (VII) all the time of your lectio divina. Putting one's body in the right position helps recollection in the mind.

4 When you open the Bible, you have to be conscious that you are opening a book which is not yours. It belongs to the community. In your lectio divina you are setting foot in the great tradition of the Church, which has come down through the centuries. Your prayerful reading is like the ship which carries down the winding river to the sea. The light shining from the sea has already enlightened the dark night of many generations. In having your own experience of lectio divina you are not alone. You are united to brothers and sisters who, before you, succeeded in meditating day and night upon the Law of the Lord and in keeping vigil in prayer (VII).

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O Master and holy God, who are beyond our understanding: at your word, light came forth out of darkness. In your mercy, you gave us rest through night-long sleep, and raised us up to glorify your goodness and to offer our supplication to You. Now, in your own tender love, accept us who adore You and give thanks to You with all our heart. Grant us all our requests, if they lead to salvation; give us the grace of manifesting that we are children of light and day, and heirs to your eternal reward. In the abundance of your mercies, O Lord, remember all your people; all those present who pray with us; all our brethren on land, at sea, or in the air, in every place of Your domain, who call upon your love for mankind. Upon all, pour down your great mercy, that we, saved in body and in soul, may persevere unfailingly; and that, in our confidence, we may extol your exalted and blessed Name, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, always, now and forever. Amen.

Lord, one more day to love you!
Brother Charles de Foucauld

Please remember:

--the poor souls in purgatory
--all of those departed souls close to any member of St. Blogs who still are in need of our prayers
--Ms Moniz and her daughter Hailey, may God grant them rest and repose in Him
--For all those living without love that we who may love will touch their lives.

--Members of St. Blogs and visitors who are pregnant or who desire to become so
--Dylan as he is feeling greatly dejected and concerned about the future
--Christine and Gordon who endure the burden of separation as they await news of a job that will allow them once again to be together
--the people of southern California who have lost their homes and family members
--Ms Schiavo and her family
--the men and women of the American Armed forces
--the homeless, the lonely, and those without recourse in this world
--the intentions of the Holy Father

Praise Report

Keep on praying for Sister Anne!
Sister Anne did not have surgery until late Wed. They had to build up her blood. She had a spinal block, and came out of OR at 10:05 pm EST very chipper. Next day she was sitting up feeding herself and in great spirits. Nine lives. She'll be home soon. Thanks for your prayers.

For my brother's relatively rapid and trouble free recovery from surgery

Please add your own needs and intentions via the comment box.

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Evening Examen--Labels

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“Search me O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Ps. 139.23,24)

Where have I sinned against charity in my thoughts about people today? Where have I dismissed someone with a label? Where have I cursed others without them knowing it? When did I talk about a person or a group in derogatory terms? Where have I failed to value a person as person?

Where did I meet and welcome my Lord today? How can I be more aware of my opportunities to meet Him? What further offering can I make of myself and my goods to further His kingdom on Earth? How can I be better prepared to receive Him?

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Prayer and Praying category from November 2003.

Prayer and Praying: October 2003 is the previous archive.

Prayer and Praying: January 2004 is the next archive.

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