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LECTIO DIVINA BIBLE MEETINGS AT THE NATIONAL SHRINE

Reading the Bible by yourself can be really challenging and discouraging, so that is why reading and meditating upon it in a group offers many benefits. Jesus Christ said: ” For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Our weekly meetings are about reading together and meditating upon the Liturgy of the Word (first reading, psalm, second reading, gospel) for the upcoming Sunday, as a spiritual preparation to participate in the Holy Mass. The meetings are open to everyone, including all the pilgrims visiting our Shrine. If you want to join us, all you need is an open heart to God’s word and to others, some spare time, and we recommend that you bring your own Bible (you can also use a Sunday missalette or an App with liturgical readings on your cell phone).

A GENERAL PLAN OF THE LECTIO DIVINA BIBLE MEETING

  1. Opening prayer.
  1. Reading the biblical passages from the upcoming Sunday liturgy (first reading, psalm, second reading, gospel).
  1. Brief explanation of the readings and introduction done by a Pauline Priest (or questions from participants) or one of the group leaders.
  1. A brief moment for an individual re-reading of the texts and time for a personal reflection.
  1. Sharing God’s word with one another – if you wish, you can share your personal encounter with God in His word, for example by answering two basic questions: What is God trying to tell me through these readings? What do I need to do with it in my own life?
  1. Closing prayer.

Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.

St. Jerome

A BRIEF EXPLANATION OF THE LECTIO DIVINA METHOD

  1. Lectio (reading)  Read the Bible passages carefully and ask yourself: What is God saying? Try to understand the reading and hear the main message of the texts. In order to understand the readings in a deeper way, you can help yourself using a selected biblical commentary, a Catholic Bible Study or footnotes in your Bible.
  1. Mediatatio (meditation-reflection)– This step is about pondering and reflecting upon the readings, taking into consideration the context of your own life. When rereading Bible texts, or just passages that caught your attention, ask yourself: What is God saying to me? “Taste” the Word, “digest” it, and study it as your food for this day. Perhaps the Word itself will ask you questions, confront you with the truth about yourself, call you to conversion, or lead you to follow God more unreservedly.
  1. Collatio (sharing)– This step is lived out in a community. Usually it is the last step in the lectio divina method, but for the purposes of our meetings it follows the time for personal meditation. It is a time to share what God has already shown us in the first two stages (lectioand meditatio). Sharing the Word with one another can be an opportunity to deepen an understanding of your lectio and to grow in your personal mediatatioCollatio aims to strengthen and deepen the faith of each participant. Its purpose is to help to discern God’s will and prepare us to make choices and decisions which can be applied to our everyday conditions.
  1. Oratio (prayer)– It occurs at the end of our meeting. Keep in your heart the Word that has become your food. Ask yourself, “What do I want to say to God now? What am I feeling right now? ” Allow your heart, now filled with the Word-of God, to pray spontaneously, under the influence of the Word. Try to repeat in your heart, in various moments of your daily life, the prayer that comes from the Word that has touched your heart. You can worship, thank, plead, or … struggle with the Word. The point is for your mind, heart and will to yield ultimately to the Word. Remember, the Word of God is not a thing or an idea, but a person – Jesus Christ!
  1. Contemplatio (contemplation)– It is the fruit of our meeting and faithful adherence to the Word in our heart – it is a prayer of presence in which often everything “happens without words”. It is abiding in God. It can be a fraction or just a brief moment; it can appear suddenly, e.g. during classes or work. It is like the tide of the ocean of God’s love flowing into the heart; it can also turn into a prayer of presence during adoration of the Word or the Blessed Sacrament. It leads to intimate union with God: a union with His desires, with His mind and His will in specific life situations. Prayer and contemplation also inspire us to action (actio), not to be only mere hearers, but to become doers of the word (see James 1:22). So, it is a transition from reading and hearing God’s Word to doing, and to living according to God’s Word.

INFORMATION

The meetings take place every Sunday at 12:15 P.M. 

in the Conference Room, at the Visitor Center Building

(located between the Shrine Museum and our gift shop)


PRAYERS

BEFORE READING THE BIBLE

PRAYER OF SAINT JOHN CHRYSOSTOM

O Lord Jesus Christ, open the eyes of my heart that I may hear your Word,
and understand and do your will, for I am a sojourner upon the Earth.

Hide not your commandments from me, but open my eyes, 

that I may perceive the wonders of your Law.
Speak unto me the hidden and secret things of your wisdom.

On you do I set my hope, O my God, that you shall enlighten 

my mind and understanding with the light of your knowledge; 

not only to cherish those things which are written, but to do them; 

For you are the enlightenment of those who lie in darkness, 

and from you comes every good deed and every gift. 

Amen.


PRAYER

OF SAINT JOHN PAUL II

Jesus, power and wisdom of God,
inspire in us a love for Sacred Scripture
in which is heard the voice of the Father

which enlightens, inflames, nourishes and consoles.
Word of the living God,

renew missionary zeal in the Church,
that all peoples may come to know you,

true Son of God and true son of man,
the one mediator between man and God.

Amen.


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