Saturday, November 22, 2014

Meditating on the Bible

It is easy for you and your family to learn how to pray using the world’s greatest book
This one-page leaflet can be downloaded in Word Doc here.  

Why should we meditate on the Bible?

·         You will meet Jesus in person. “Jesus himself is present in his word” (Vat II, SC 7)
·         You will hear God speak. When you pray, you speak to God, when you read the Bible, God speaks to you, says St. Augustine. The Bible is God talking.
·         You will be nourished. Jesus’ word is the most nourishing food for the soul, says Pope Francis.
·         You will feel God’s love. The Bible is God’s love letter to us.
·         You will help change the world.  Pope Benedict XVI said that when Christians rediscover Bible meditation, there will be a “new springtime”.

Pope Francis taught: A Christian's first task is to listen to the word of God, to listen to Jesus, because he speaks to us and saves us with his word.

How do I meditate on the Bible?

It’s as simple as talking with a close friend!

Because Jesus told us: I have called you my friends. And the original word he used refers to his intimate circle!  

When you talk with a friend, there are three things that happen: (1) your friend talks first and you listen, (2) you talk and then he listens; (3) you agree to do something. Simple!

You can find these three elements in the steps for Prayerful Reading of Scripture or Lectio Divina (divine reading) outlined by Pope Benedict XVI:

(1) Reading (what the Word of God says) and Meditation (I listen to what God is telling me, e.g. a phrase that strikes me)

(2) Prayer (what I tell Jesus: thank you, sorry, help me, or use prayers in the Bible, etc.) and Contemplation (I look at Jesus with love and he looks at me with divine love)

(3) Action (I do something to love God above all and love my neighbor)

How can I make my meditation even more fruitful?

In line with many Catholic saints, St. Josemaria taught: My advice is that, in your prayer, you actually take part in the different scenes of the Gospel, as one more among the people present. First of all, imagine the scene or mystery you have chosen, to help you recollect your thoughts and meditate.
What is the best part of the Bible to pray about?  

Pope Benedict XVI taught there is a very deep union between the Bible and the Mass. (Prominent biblical scholars say that all the books were collected as one Bible to be read at Mass!) And so Pope Benedict said that the “correct approach to Scripture” is to "savor the deep meaning of the word of God" in the three Mass readings of the day throughout the liturgical year. (Verbum Domini 52-55) [You can find the daily Mass readings here (EWTN) or here (USCCB).]

The best of all is the Gospel. St. Therese of Lisieux said: Above all it’s the Gospels that occupy my mind when I’m at prayer. My poor soul has so many needs, and yet this is the one thing needful. I’m always finding fresh lights there, hidden and enthralling meanings.

The Catechism taught: Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in lectio divina or the rosary. (CCC 2708)

If I don’t understand something in the Bible, what do I do?

Since the Bible is a book of the Catholic Church, it is the Church hierarchy, her saints and teachers who can best explain the Bible. These explanations can be found in:

The Catechism of the Catholic Church: The USCCB website allows a search of biblical passages; Navarre Bible; New Testament Study Bible, by Dr. Scott Hahn; daily Bible diaries, the priest’s homilies at Holy Mass.

What attitudes are good to have while meditating on the Bible?

A loving focus on Jesus and his divine look of love for us. The important thing in prayer, said St. Teresa, is not to think much, but to love much. Also, Jesus said: the greatest in the kingdom of heaven is whoever humbles himself like a child.

How often should my family and I read the Bible?

Remember: love means working on the relationship and putting time. Pope Francis taught: “The Bible is not for putting in a shelf. It is for reading it often, everyday, either individually or in groups, husband and wife, parents and children; maybe at night, especially on Sundays.”

“I also suggest that you have a little Gospel  to carry in your pocket, in your purse, and when we have a little time, perhaps on the bus, when you are seated, you can also read during the day.”

This one-page leaflet can be downloaded in Word Doc here
By Dr. Raul Nidoy. Doctor of Theology. University of Navarre. In support of Pope Francis’ New Evangelization, please share generously

No comments: