We live in a culture of immediacy and often we take that same thought process into our prayer life. We don’t want to sit-down and read the whole bible…we want it to be summarized in three short sentences.
Lectio divina can help curb that habit, especially in regards to the first step in the divine reading of scripture: lectio or “read.”
In this context, I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of “Lectio divina“: “the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart” (cf. “Dei Verbum,” n. 25). If it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church — I am convinced of it — a new spiritual springtime. – Pope Benedict XVI
As we progress through the various methods of prayer given to us over the centuries, we come upon the very ancient method of lectio divina. Translated as “divine reading,” lectio divina is a way of praying that allows a soul to immerse themselves into sacred scripture and ruminate on the Word of God. Above all else it is an exercise in listening to the voice of God and hearing what He has to say to us.
Before we go into a detailed explanation of lectio divina, here is a general outline of its origin and its various steps.
This month has been a whirlwind. Earlier I had mentioned how I recently became the Social Media Manager for the Apostleship of Prayer, but in addition to that I have also become a staff writer for Aleteia. God is certainly good and He has given me even more opportunities to use the gifts and talents He gave me for His greater glory!
As a side note, ALETEIA is a project of the Foundation for Evangelization through the Media (FEM), developed under the patronage of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. I am honored to be a part of the Church’s mission to evangelize the world!
Unfortunately in getting used to this new schedule, I haven’t been able to write many articles for my own website. However, in the next month I intend to work hard to finish out our series on prayer as well as continue to write inspiring content just for you! So please stay tuned!
In the mean time, here is a run-down of articles I wrote for Aleteia, and the National Catholic Register in the month of April:
7 Confirmation Gift Ideas to Keep a Teen’s Faith Alive
Kobe Bryant, Formed and Saved by His Catholic Faith
“The Real O’Neals”: A Cautionary Tale Against Mere Cultural Catholicism
Adam LaRoche Walks Away From $13 Million For Son
Don’t Treat Confirmation Like Graduation
Hollywood Sours on Divorce and Embraces the Family
How St. Louis de Montfort Inspired 5 Different Popes
5 Things Catholics Should Know About First Fridays
What is God Trying to Tell Us With This New Eucharistic Miracle in Poland?
Much of prayer is poetry and so during this National Poetry Month, I thought it would be beneficial to look at a piece of Catholic poetry and examine the depths behind it to help us in our own prayer life. For our purposes, we will look at the poem/hymn Pange lingua and meditate on the source of inspiration of this poem, the Most Holy Eucharist, and will help us prepare for the great feast of Corpus Christi.
While Saint Thomas Aquinas is widely known for his ground breaking theological work, the Summa Theologiae, his devotion and love of the Most Holy Eucharist was one of the greatest passions in his life. One explicit example of his love of the Most Blessed Sacrament can be found in the liturgy for the feast of Corpus Christi that he composed under the commission of Pope Urban IV in the thirteenth century.
“He who sings prays twice.” – Saint Augustine
An important aspect of vocal prayer that shouldn’t be missed is the singing of prayer. The singing of hymns and prayers has been an essential part of personal and liturgical prayer for thousands of years, even before Christianity. The Psalms are a great example of this tradition, as they were meant to be sung. But how should we sing while we pray? Is there a preferred way of singing?
In a word, yes. The Roman Catholic Church favors the style of Gregorian Chant above all other musical styles that have surfaced over the centuries. The Church does not favor it for no particular reason, but does so because of its ability to foster prayer. Let us look at the reasoning of the Church and come to understand why this outdated type of music is still relevant today.
Since the late 1800s, the Pope has proposed a particular monthly intention that he wants all the world to pray for. By doing this, the popes throughout the decades have shared with the world what is on their own hearts and where they see prayers are needed the most.
The primary organization that promotes these monthly intentions is the “Apostleship of Prayer – The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.” It is a Jesuit run ministry that continues to this day and is spread out across the globe. Anyone can become a member of this association and has had such saints as Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati as official members. It is a beautiful ministry, one that unites us to the heart of the Pope and seeks unity among all Catholics; certainly something we need in today’s world.
While sacramentals have biblical roots
, some are surprised to know that the number of sacramentals has changed over the centuries. The Church in her wisdom can change, modify, add, or subtract sacramentals according to the circumstances of the culture.
So how many sacramentals are there? Is there a list where I can go and see all the sacramentals? Before we can discuss any lists of sacramentals, we must first briefly learn the history behind the Church’s compilation of sacramentals.