Lectio Divina: Psalm 34

Year C: 30th Sunday in Ordinary time.

Here, I am trying something new for this blog. Towards the end of Exploring Personal Prayer at Our Lady of the Annunciation in Poringland, one of the participants commented that they might find it difficult to do this kind of prayer without being guided through it as they had been during the programme. Since the main purpose of me setting up the blog in the first place is to provide support for those making this journey, and since I have recently been including audio files of me reading my blog posts, it seems that the logical thing to do is to provide the kind of support I am trying out here. I have also been inspired by Pray as You Go, which I use for my own morning prayer, and The Wednesday Word, which is given out in my parish every Sunday. It is not my intention to duplicate what either of these sites are doing, merely to draw from the forthcoming Sunday liturgy and to offer a guided prayer on one of the pieces of scripture in the same way that we have been doing in Exploring Personal Prayer. Neither do I intend to offer any reflections on the scripture. My suggestion is that you follow the Ignatian structure: preparation for prayer by reading the scripture, going to your prayer place and doing the prayer itself, and then moving away to another place and doing a review of the prayer. Keeping some sort of prayer journal is good practice. Note any moments of consolation in the prayer, where you felt drawn more deeply into God, and moments of desolation, where prayer was disturbed, where you were distracted and pulled further away from God: feelings of attraction and repulsion should be noted. These points may provide areas for repetition of the prayer. Also, if you have a spiritual director or prayer partner, someone who can listen with an ear to where God is in this, it may be worth sharing your prayer with them. I am following the processes outline in the prayer cards above. You may print these onto A6 or A4 card to have in your prayer space to help you become accustomed to this way of praying, remembering it is more of a flow than a rigid structure.

From Psalm 34:

This poor soul cried, and was heard by the Lord

I will bless the Lord at all times;
    his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
My soul makes its boast in the Lord;
    let the humble hear and be glad.
O magnify the Lord with me,
    and let us exalt his name together.

The face of the Lord is against evildoers,
    to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears,
    and rescues them from all their troubles.
18 The Lord is near to the broken-hearted,
    and saves the crushed in spirit.

22 The Lord redeems the life of his servants;
    none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.

The Guided Prayer: Lectio Divina from Psalm 34

If you have found this post helpful, please leave feedback so that I will know to continue in this direction. I will reschedule the “Diary of a Sunflower” posts for Friday.

Background music is the album: Keith Halligan – Lifestyle Meditation, Global Journey

Calming the storm.

I was praying with Pray As You Go yesterday morning and the scripture for the prayer was Matthew 8:23-27, when Jesus is asleep during the storm and the disciples wake Him up in their fear. The music played was Calm me, Lord – Fire of Love performed by Kevin Mayhew. The question was asked:

Do you ever feel that the Lord is asleep to the dangers and difficulties in your life?

Pray As You Go, Tuesday July 2, 2019

I found myself entering into the story imaginatively and the storm I imagined myself in was like the maelstrom in Pirates of the Caribbean:

Maelstrom – Pirates of the Caribbean: at Worlds End

Scary stuff! The last time I did an imaginative contemplation with this passage, which was some years ago, Jesus did wake up to calm the storm. Here however, when I observed that He was sleeping through all of the chaos, I noticed how peaceful He was, and I felt the desire to be able to do likewise: to be able to rest and feel secure, regardless of what was going on around me. I lay down beside Him, and snuggled into Him and closed my eyes. He pulled me closer and whispered to me:

I am keeping you very safe.

Revelations of Divine Love – Julian of Norwich

And I did feel safe as I sank into a deep, warm, restful sleep, being held close by Him. This consolation has remained with me since the prayer. On sharing it out loud with my own Spiritual Director, I realised that this is material for repetition. Of repetition, St Ignatius says:

In doing this, we should pay attention and dwell upon those points in which we have experienced greater consolation or desolation or greater spiritual appreciation.

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, first week, third exercise: trans Louis J. Puhl S.J.

An analogy would be like taking a photograph (digital) of something, say a church, and noticing that when you look at it, there seems to be something of interest in the bell tower. You then put a more powerful lens on the camera to focus more closely on the point of interest so that you can see a lot more detail and up close. Making a repetition of a prayer in the way suggested by St Ignatius allows the experience to deepen, and to filter down to extract the essence, to savour the spiritual fruit of it. So, the focus on my next prayer period will be this consolation I experienced during the calming of the storm.

And now this. Enjoy.