Being a Vibrant Parish – 20140216

I have been sharing with you the hints that a priest at Gonzaga University has come up with in order to pray with the Scriptures. I would quickly review these to help you remember: (1) Passage, (2) Place, (3) Posture and (4) Presence. He came up with a fifth “P”, Praying the Passage. When our mind begins to wander, or we seem not to be   experiencing the presence of God, we simply need to pick up the passage and pray it.

To pray the passage is to imagine God saying the words to you. You are not reading the passage to Him. He knows it. He wants to speak the words to your heart. So, simply read the passage slowly out loud and let the words sink deeply into your being. Let Him speak them over and over to you, until you really hear them, until you really believe them. Then your heart can respond. That is what is meant by praying with scripture.

Once you have slowly read the passage over and over again and feel that you are coming to a point of understanding the passage, notice the effect that the verses and words have on you. Usually a deep and powerful quietness will surround you and the words of the passage will fall upon your mind like healing medicine.

CaptureLet the word of God dwell in you richly, writes St. Paul. We read in the Book of Revelation that the prophet ate the scroll containing the Word of God. At first it was sweet, then the scroll turned bitter, signifying that the word of God is sweet to the taste but when it gets to the stomach to be digested, it becomes bitter.  Why? Because there it encounters old habits that need to be expelled. But once digested, it produces the sweetness of a holy life.

But, you say, you do read the word of God but you do not remember it. Nonetheless, the word of God has a cleansing effect on us. A story is told of an old woman who was asked if she remembered what the sermon was about. She replied that she did not. When asked why she continued going to church she said: I have two wicker baskets. Each day I pour a gallon of water into one. At the end of the week the basket that I pour water into is clean but the other is not. The water does not remain but it cleanses. Need anything more be said about the     cleansing effect of the word of God on the human soul? It cleanses our souls and bodies. So whether or not we remember the passage, read it. It cleanses!

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