Welcome to the Jesuit Missions Monthly Prayer Page. Here you will find topical prayers and different prayer styles to help broaden and deepen your prayer life in the tradition of Ignatian spirituality.
JM Prayer Focus: Lent and Easter
Suggested Prayer Type: Lectio Divina
What is Lectio Divina?
- Lectio Divina literally means ‘Divine reading’: praying by reading a passage from the Bible.
How to pray Lectio Divina:
- Read over a passage like you would a message from a loved one: Pore over individual words and phrases, attempting to prise meaning and understanding from it all.
- Repeat sentences that you don’t quite understand yet seem rich; let them permeate your conscience by saying them with your breath whilst breathing in and out. There’s no limit or rules as to how long you should spend on a particular idea – let the Spirit take you where it wants to.
Why do it?
- By contemplating a biblical, particularly a Gospel passage, we allow its messages to seep into our minds. It’s a bit like when we spend time with our friends and slowly begin to resemble them in mannerism and ways of behaving, only this time our friend is Jesus Christ!
- Good Lectio Divina prayer makes us reflect and allows us to apply the power of the Word of God and the example of our Lord, Jesus Christ, to our everyday lives.
A Lectio Divina ‘taster’ for this month:
Despite the Gospels being an inexhaustible resource, sometimes a fresh way of praying Lectio Divina is to use a passage of spiritual writing, particularly one discussing an event in the current liturgical calendar. Below is a passage from Evangeli Gaudium [The Joy of the Gospel], in which Pope Francis discusses the relevance of Lent and Easter to the modern world. Perhaps praying with this passage will give you a fresh perspective of an important Christian narrative that may have lost its power through familiarity?
“Christ’s resurrection is not an event of the past; it contains a vital power which has permeated this world. Where all seems to be dead, signs of the resurrection suddenly spring up. It is an irresistible force. Often it seems that God does not exist: all around us we see persistent injustice, evil, indifference and cruelty. But it is also true that in the midst of darkness something new always springs to life and sooner or later produces fruit. On razed land life breaks through, stubbornly yet invincibly. However dark things are, goodness always re-emerges and spreads. Each day in our world beauty is born anew, it rises transformed through the storms of history. Values always tend to reappear under new guises, and human beings have arisen time after time from situations that seemed doomed. Such is the power of the resurrection, and all who evangelise are instruments of that power”. (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium)
Some questions to consider while praying:
- What has sprung to life and bore fruit in my life where darkness previously reigned?
- When have I experienced the power of the resurrection in my life?
- How is God calling me to become a living instrument of the power of the resurrection in my life?
Final words of wisdom:
“I would rather say five words devoutly with my heart than 5000 which my soul does not relish with affection and intelligence. Sing to the Lord with understanding: what a man repeats with his mouth, that let him feel in his soul” (St Edmund of Abingdon)
Jesuit Missions Lenten Reflection:
A phrase that really resounded for us at Jesuit Missions during this prayer was the idea that “in the midst of darkness something new always springs to life and sooner or later produces fruit”. This Easter concept of responding to the problems in our world is what drives us in our work. For example, our London Marathon team are raising funds to provide vital healthcare to communities in the war-torn cities of Homs and Damascus, Syria. We hope that their efforts will help deliver basic healthcare services to over 6000 people in that area. Hopefully our work can help justify Pope Francis’ earlier statement that “however dark things are, goodness always re-emerges and spreads”.
Good luck with this prayer and every blessing to you and your loved ones during this Lenten and Easter Period.