“For in the sacred books, the Father who is in heaven meets His children with great love and speaks with them; and the force and power in the word of God is so great that it stands as the support and energy of the Church, the strength of faith for her sons, the food of the soul, the pure and everlasting source of spiritual life.” (Dei Verbum §21).
These words from the Second Vatican Council invite every human heart into an intimate encounter with the Father through the words of Sacred Scripture. Why, then, if God’s Word is so precious, can it be so difficult to read and comprehend, let alone, pray with? In this five-week community course, we will seek to approach the Bible with clarity, reverence, and conviction; acquiring the necessary skills to read it comprehensibly and to encounter Jesus powerfully in every page. Each 90-minute class session will begin by treating a certain topic of Prayer and Scripture (60 minutes), and conclude with an opportunity to discuss and/or to practice the method(s) that are being examined (30 minutes). The session topics are as follows:
Session 1: Praying with Scripture: What is Prayer?
Session 2: Praying with Scripture: What is Scripture?
Session 3: Scripture and the Art of Divine Reading (Lectio Divina)
Session 4: Scripture and the Mind: St. Ignatius of Loyola (Ignatian Meditation)
Session 5: Scripture and the Liturgy: Scripture and Prayer in Their Proper Home
The aim of this course is to provide a helpful overview for the newcomer and a happy challenge for the veteran. While we will glean fruit from time-tested methods for engaging the inspired texts, we will also pause to reflect on possible cautions and even a few misconceptions when it comes to praying with Scripture. Ultimately, we will seek to emulate the experience of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, saying with them: “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32).
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