Lectio Divina: News

Our growing Lectio Divina group took the Gospel reading for the 6th Sunday in Easter Year A: John 14: 15-21 “I shall ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate.”

Some of the participants have kindly offered their reflections. You can read them here.

New members always welcome. Contact the group using the form at the bottom of this page.

Lectio Divina: News

Our very active on-line Lectio Group met on Friday 8th May to consider the reading for the 5th Sunday in Easter Year A. Jn 14:1-12 “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life”.

These are some of their thoughts.

If you would like to learn more about Lectio or join in then please contact us using the form here.

Lectio Divina: News

Our growing on-line Lectio Group met today to consider the Gospel reading for this coming Sunday. Some of them have been kind enough to share their thoughts with us. You can read them here.

If you would like to learn more about Lectio or join in then please contact us using the form here.

Lectio Divina: News

Our Lectio group, observing all the precautions of our times, has been considering Luke 24:13-35 ‘On the Road to Emmaus’.

You can read some of their thoughts here.

Happily they were one more than the usual group today. If you would like to join them then please make contact by using the form at the bottom of this page.

Lectio Divina: News

Holy Thursday

Our Lectio group met on-line to reflect on the Holy Thursday gospel. The group welcomed an additional member this week bringing their number to seventeen.

Six of the group have offered their thoughts on the gospel. You can read their reflections here.

Good Friday

On Good Friday the group got together on-line to consider John 18:1 – 19:42 The Passion of Jesus according to John.

You can read their reflections here.

Lectio Divina: News

Once again our Lectio group has been active on-line at its normal time. There were 16 in the group including a new member which shows that despite the difficulties we are able to keep going.

If you want to join in the discussions then please let us know and we will put you in touch with the group leaders. The group would not normally meet during Holy Week but shall in these exceptional circumstances.

The readings were

  • Procession: Mt: 21:1-11 Blessing on him who comes in the name of the Lord!
  • Mass: Mt 26:14-27; 27:1-66; short version Mt 27:11-54: The narrative of the passion and death of Jesus

Seven members of the group have generously shared their thoughts on the readings. In no particular order.

One

There are three things that struck me.

  • Mockery – How the people made fun of Jesus. It wasn’t enough to torture and crucify Him, they had to humiliate and degrade Him too. It made me think that this is what my sins do to Jesus. He has already suffered and died for my sins and I continually mock Him by continuing to sin.
  • Testing – Passers-by wanted Jesus to prove that He was the Son of God by saving Himself. Even the chief priests and teachers of the Law were telling him that they would believe Him if He came down from the Cross. I want to always add ‘your will be done’ at the end of my prayers. We tend to believe that what we ask for in prayer we will get – ‘ask and it will be given’ which it will but God’s time is not our time, God’s ways are not our ways. He knows what is best for us and will answer our prayers accordingly.
  • Proof – After Jesus had died and all the incredible things started to happen on earth, the people started to believe that He was truly the Son of God. I pray that my Faith will always be strong enough to know that Jesus is Lord and God without looking for proof. We are told that God sends signs and I believe he does but we are not meant to look for them. I pray to be discerning enough to know them when they come.

I pray for you all at this very difficult time. Please pray for me and my family. Please pray for my niece and my nephew (brother and sister) who are both senior nurses in Intensive Care and nursing multiple corona patients. She in Lancaster and him in Edinburgh. May God bless and protect you all. Stay well. xxx

Two

My first thought when reflecting on the Passion gospel was to remember the call from Jesus “Come, follow me.” Does this mean I have to follow him to suffering and the cross?

As Richard Rohr puts it “It is amazing to me that the cross or crucifix became the central Christian logo, when its rather obvious message of inevitable suffering is aggressively disbelieved in most Christian countries, individuals, and churches. We made the Jesus symbol into a mechanical and distant substitutionary atonement theory instead of a very personal and intense at-one-ment process, the very reality of love’s unfolding.

We missed out on the positive and redemptive meaning of our own pain and suffering. It was something Jesus did for us (substitutionary), but not something that revealed and invited us into the same pattern.”

Three

Matthew 21 v 9 Hosanna. In verse 9 it seems that the people were beginning to understand who Jesus is and they were crying out to Him for salvation.

But Jesus knew the same voices would be shouting crucify him in a few days.

The crowd thought they needed a earthly king.

But they needed the same thing we all need, a Messiah to rescue us from sin and death and restore our relationship with God .

We all need to cry “ Hosanna “ Lord Save Us

So today I want to give thanks.
Thank you Lord that I know you as my friend and Saviour.
Especially as we approach Easter this year I pray that many people will turn to you “The Way,The Truth and Life “ and find your salvation.

Four

Verse 6 = The disciples performed an action for Jesus. We perform actions during our services. We are not able to do this at present. However,through the working of the Holy Spirit we are all joined together this Friday morning to listen to God’s word. We are all reassured by the words ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord ‘

Society is following all the instructions. Christians are instructed to follow only two !!!! Love God and love your neighbour. If we do Gods grace will shine down on us👏👏Blessed be the Lord , our helper and our guide.

Five

Verse 41 “There is a part of you that is eager, ready for anything in God.

But there’s another part that’s as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire.”

I can very much identify with this statement by Jesus.
So what do I need to do?
Jesus has the answer.

Verse 40 “Stay alert; be in prayer so you don’t wander into temptation without even knowing you’re in danger..”

Six

Friends, as so often, familiarity with these passages can make it difficult to see afresh.

One picture I hold in my mind’s eye, and it’s imaginative rather than scriptural, is the contrast between Jesus on his modest donkey, coming down into Jerusalem from the East, to tumultuous popular acclaim, and, perhaps even at the same time, Pilate coming up from the port of Joppa in the West, probably on a magnificent horse surrounded by a heavy guard and to no popular acclaim at all. Perhaps even jeering? Or perhaps they dared not.

Pilate knew about the Festival and had come because trouble was expected. Volatile lot, these Jews… [his view, not mine, I hasten to add]

The other thing that struck me forcibly was the isolation when all his disciples, despite their earlier protestations of loyalty, forsook him and fled, probably in sheer terror. And in all conscience I don’t blame them.

Perhaps those of us experiencing greater or lesser isolation right now might care to compare it with His unimaginable isolation. Oh was there ever loneliness like His? We expect to come out of ours – He knew differently.

At the [mockery of a] trial, this other character Barabbas raises interesting issues. It seems that his full name was Jesus Barabbas, Jesus [a development of Joshua] was a common name. Bar meant “son of” as in O’Reilly and Mc Manus or MacDonald. Or even Wilson!

Abba we know is “father”, so Jesus Barabbas was Jesus son of the father – compare Jesus Son of The Father. Mmm!

So – the old question – why had the crowds changed so much in such a short time? We don’t know, and maybe they weren’t the same crowds, and in modern language I suspect that the authorities had paid for a rent-a-mob.

I’m always troubled by our glib condemnation of Judas, based admittedly on what Jesus is reported as having said; was he culpable because he did what was necessary for the fulfillment of scripture? Would none of this have happened if he hadn’t?

Stand-out quote for me “Poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins”

Seven

It has been very difficult for me to concentrate in one point, for I have been bombarded with so many things that came out… let’s see if I can make some sense of them. The Gospels took me a long time too.

I started with the Procession Entrance Mt 21:1-11.

There the ‘Who is this?’ caught my attention, and the ‘Blessed are you who have come to us so rich in love and mercy’ from the Third Form of the Simple Entrance. I thought about how many people came out from their homes to greet Jesus. Had they met him before? Or was it just curiosity to see the famous healer, the miracle maker? The same ‘Who is this?’ appears to me; my answer is, my humble Lord that comes to me to arise in me a need to search for him.

Then I continue with the Mass Gospel Mt 26:14-27, 66

A reminder from the beginning of this situation we live on, my first phrase was ‘It is at your house that I am keeping passover’. It will be very different the Holy Week this year, no doubt, but it will be no less special, we will not be able to meet in church, but we are the Church still, wherever we are, Christ is with us, sharing with us His Passion.

Then, it became deeply emotional and personal for me. I listened the Lord saying ‘One of you will betray me’ and me answering ‘Not surely me’. However I am Judas too, I have betrayed my Lord, so many times, disowned Him every single time I have not done your will, my Lord…For all of that I am so very sorry… I cried to you Lord for your infinite Mercy, to forgive me one more time Lord.

I am too asking not to be put to the test, for I know my spirit is ready, but I am very weak without your help Lord. Please help me to do the Father’s will.

I don’t understand why suffering exists, why bad things have to happen, but I trust You Lord, and pray as well as mantra ‘Your will be done, Your will be done, Your will be done.. ‘ till it calms me down.

Yes, I believe You are the Son of God, my saviour and redeemer, the one that suffered this Passion for me, for all of us, to bring us Hope, to bring us Life, to bring us Peace.
I know you are suffering with everybody in the world with Coronavirus, with those that past away and their families; with those in anguish, and fear for an uncertain future; with those that reach exhaustion helping others….you are close by, keeping carrying our crosses on your shoulders.

Yes, Lord, I trust in You; thus, I put all of them suffering in this world, my family and friends, those who care for us, those who govern us, those in any kind of need and myself into your hands… Your will be done. Amen.

God bless you all and keep you safe

Lectio Divina: News

Fifteen of the community took part in Lectio Divina on Friday. Trying to adhere to the established routine of time and form and although each person was at home, still united in Christ.

The group has exchanged reflections afterwards. Here are three to share. For privacy we have omitted names.

One

This is such a wonderful story filled with hope and knowledge of God’s great love for us.

There is a bit of Mary and Martha in me, maybe in all of us. I can always feel Mary’s pain and need for reassurance and help from Jesus. Martha was a more practical person and needed to do things in a more structured way. Both sisters had amazing faith and knew without doubt that God would grant Jesus anything.

Jesus waited two days before he went to Lazarus to show them God’s Glory by doing something only God could do. The fact that He wept at the death of his friend shows His total humanity. Both His Divinity and humanity in the same story.

I pray that I will one day have the total trust in Jesus that Mary and Martha have.

I pray for all the people affected by the coronavirus. All the NHS employees, All the clergy and religious and for you and your family. Please pray for my family, my friends and for me.

God bless.

Two

Years ago, my wife and I used to take cat biscuits to Venice. “per i poveri gatti” if anyone asked – they never did.

One day, in the direct sun in the searing midday heat, there was a cat lying on a stone window sill, apparently dead to the world.

I silently placed a single tiny biscuit near his nose. Instantly, no transition, he was instantly fully alert and gobbled it up, hungry for more.

We didn’t know his name but we called him Lazarus.

Jesus wasn’t there when Lazarus was taken ill, or when he died, and didn’t go immediately in response to the sisters’ call for help. Odd?

We are familiar enough with the two of them, Martha the practical one, Mary the contemplative [Xaverians and Carmelites?]. We need both practices.

The reference to Mary’s anointing show that John’s narrative is not presented chronologically because that story doesn’t come until the next chapter, 12:3

Jesus tells his disciples that he was pleased not to have been there – inexplicably at this stage, and hangs around where he was, for another two days.

Martha, still the activist, is the one who first comes out to meet him, and they discuss death and resurrection [as you do!]

Then Mary comes out and says word for word what Martha had said “If you had been here my brother would not have died” [not “our brother” ????]

And Jesus is disturbed in spirit and greatly moved; it’s arguable whether this is characteristic of humanity or divinity – i suggest both.

There is a significance to the 4-day period, which probably contributed to Jesus’ delay is turning up – the Jews believed that the spirit finally departed 4 days after death, so this sign was even more impressive.{John writes about signs, not miracles, which is the Synoptics’ favoured word]

I’ve always wondered exactly how Lazarus managed to stand up and came out, since his hands and feet were bound, but it’s perhaps significant that Jesus told the onlookers to unbind him and let him go.

This put me in mind of Peter’s escape from prison, when the angel told him to put on his sandals and fasten his belt; we are called on to do what we can, while God does what we can’t. Trust in the Lord and keep your powder dry!

As usual, the chief priests and co. don’t like what Jesus is doing because it undermines their authority and threatens their good standing with the Romans.

Caiaphas, with wonderful double entendre, probably not intended, says, it is better for one man to die than for the whole nation to be destroyed.

John expands this to comment that this means not just the Jews but all the dispersed children of God.

And that’s why this story is relevant to us, because that is who we are.

I look forward to reading other takes on this passage.

Warm regards to all.

Three

It seems always amazing to me how many things come out anew in a very well know Gospel when doing Lectio Divina.

For me today they were mainly three aspects that took my attention:

  • The attitude of the two sisters. Martha at once goes to receive the Lord, without hesitation, and without being called. She believes in Him and does a profession of faith. While Mary is sitting at home, I guess in sorrow for her loss. But as soon as she is called by the Lord she is in her way to meet Him.
  • Jesus attitude in front of the sufferings of those He love. He wept. Is it not what He does every time we are suffering? God didn’t promise us a way of roses, though He promise to be with us till the end of times; helping us to go through whatever tribulation lies ahead of us.
  • Jesus prayer to the Father. How beautiful and simple prayer, ‘I thank You for hearing my prayer…. You always hear me.’

I made this prayer mine and thanked the Lord for always hearing me, for always being by my side, for His unconditional love.

And so I pray for all of us, for those in need, especially those suffering with the Coronavirus, for the eternal rest of those who past away and for those who, in these times of need, do the will of the Father and attend the needy with love and compassion.

Lord in your mercy Hear my prayer.

Lectio Divina: A Personal Experience

This week we have another excellent account from a different member of our Lectio group. Again, I post on her behalf.

My experience of Lectio Divina.

I first attended Lectio Divina about 15 years ago now. I loved it immediately and have continued to attend ever since, health permitting. At the moment, due to the coronavirus and being at high risk of infection, I am unable to take part so being able to write this is really beneficial to me and hopefully to you.

Many people benefit from Lectio Divina by invoking the Holy Spirit to enable us to hear what Jesus is saying to us through the Gospel readings we use. I have found that no matter how I am feeling physically or mentally when I arrive, I leave feeling wonderful.

Life is never easy, as we all know and we all have worries, concerns, issues, loved ones who are sick etc. Lectio Divina helps us to cope with all these issues. If you attend you can say whatever you like in the knowledge that it is in strict confidence. No-one will judge you and nothing you say is wrong. You may not want to say anything and that is fine. You will definitely benefit from listening to what others have to say. I would recommend Lectio Divina to anyone.

God bless you all. Stay safe.