Praying with Scripture

Today, we celebrate the feast of St. Jerome (c. 347–420). This monk and theologian was fluent in classical Latin, Greek and Hebrew and was the greatest biblical scholar of the ancient Church. We remember him most for his translation of the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into the Latin spoken by the common folk of his day. Thanks to his work, many more people could understand the biblical texts.

Sixteen hundred years later, we have countless translations of the Bible in hundreds of languages. The Bible is available in printed book form, on various websites, even through smartphone apps!

Here are two ways to pray with scripture, alone or in a small group:

  • Lectio Divina (holy or sacred reading): Read a scripture passage aloud, then pause and reflect for a few moments. Does one word or phrase stay with you or touch you? Sit with it and savour it. (If you are in a group, each person could say their word or phrase out loud.) Then read the passage aloud again with that understanding in mind and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to you. Ask yourself: What does this passage call me to do?
  • Gospel contemplation: Find a scripture passage where Jesus is connecting with people. Know that God is with you in your prayer. Read the passage twice, silently or out loud. Now close your eyes. What is happening in this scene? What do Jesus and the other people look like? What do you hear, smell, feel? What are people saying? What is the mood? Imagine that you are there, as an observer or an active participant. Perhaps you are sharing in a meal, or being healed, or walking with Jesus. Speak to him, telling him what is in your heart. (If you are in a group, you could share your experience with one or two other people afterwards.)

The scriptures offer us one more way to enrich our prayer life and deepen our relationship with God, whether we’re at home or on the go. Today is the perfect day to delve into the scriptures and pray with them.

-Anne Louise Mahoney, Managing Editor, Novalis Books

lecto-divinaTo learn more about Lectio Divina, we invite you to read Sr. Maria Tasto’s book The Transforming Power of Lectio Divina.

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