Posted by: wordofthevine | November 21, 2015

Letting Yourself Get Lost in the Word!

Six owordofGodr seven years ago, my husband and I participated in a 21-week bible study that followed the story line through the old and new testaments. It was a rich and engaging experience that brought the Mass alive for us and fueled a hunger for more. Because we were the leaders for the study, we were obligated to read every last page AND prepare personal responses to the reflection questions. Some of the reading assignments were quite lengthy and time consuming and really took the fun out of the journey through the bible. I felt pushed to complete it rather than let myself be lost in thought with Him. But, what were the authors suppose to do? The class was already more than 5 months long…a commitment most won’t sign up for. Shortening the readings would lengthen the commitment to participate in the class…a definite barrier to most.

I recently bought a Didache Bible which contains comments based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In the front of the book, it suggested reading the Word until something really speaks to you, stop, and spend time in contemplation…Lectio Divina.
It was once explained to me, that the repetition of a word, phrase or the retelling of an event, indicated importance that demanded my attention. One example being John 21:15…’feed my sheep’…repeated three times. My habit of prayer includes the Divine Office, reading the reflections for the daily reading from The Word Among Us, sometimes a chapter from a book written by a Catholic author and always ending with me picking up where I left off as I work my way through the bible.  Nearly every day my attention is drawn to a word or phrase that is repeated. Sometimes, like John 21:15, the repetition comes in one chapter of the bible. Often times, the word or phrase will speak to me in two or more of the pieces I spent time on in prayer. Other times, the word appears in everyday life…a song on the radio, a message from my boss or a news clip on TV and I am drawn back into contemplation of an earlier time in prayer.
As an educator of adult learners, I know that allowing time for reflection is a best practice. I also know that it is often hard to get adults to come to classes because time is scarce in their busy lives. Personally, I know that unless I spend QUIET, uninterrupted time alone with the Word, I will never hear Him speak.  As much as I loved that first study we participated in, I wonder if a better way to evangelize might be to teach people how to know God by encouraging them to read the bible…giving them a list of the books and chapters to read, which brings the story to life. Teaching and modeling  Lectio Divina; and providing quiet uninterrupted space and time that will allow them to hear and recognize his voice when He speaks to them. ~Brenda

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