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: Social Justice
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:
Prayer Stimuli: A Reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (25:31-46)
‘When the Son of man comes in his glory, escorted by all the angels, then he will take his seat on his throne of glory. All nations will be assembled before him and he will separate people one from another as the shepherd separates sheep from goats. He will place the sheep on his right hand and the goats on his left.
Then the King will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take as your heritage the kingdom prepared for you since the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you made me welcome, lacking clothes and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.”
Then the upright will say to him in reply, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and make you welcome, lacking clothes and clothe you? When did we find you sick or in prison and go to see you?” And the King will answer, “In truth I tell you, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me.”
Then he will say to those on his left hand, “Go away from me, with your curse upon you, to the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you never gave me food, I was thirsty and you never gave me anything to drink, I was a stranger and you never made me welcome, lacking clothes and you never clothed me, sick and in prison and you never visited me.”
Then it will be their turn to ask, “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, a stranger or lacking clothes, sick or in prison, and did not come to your help?” Then he will answer, “In truth I tell you, in so far as you neglected to do this to one of the least of these, you neglected to do it to me.” And they will go away to eternal punishment, and the upright to eternal life.’
Some questions to consider while praying:
- Are you a sheep or a goat?
- Who are the hungry, thirsty, estranged, naked or imprisoned people in your life?
- How does this reading link to social justice? Pray with the quotation below to help if you wish…
Final words of wisdom:
“Until exclusion and inequality in society and between people are reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence… When a society – whether local, national or global – is willing to leave a part of itself on the fringes, no political programmes or resources spent on law enforcement or surveillance systems can indefinitely guarantee tranquillity… If every action has its consequences, an evil embedded in the structures of a society has a constant potential for disintegration and death. It is evil crystallised in unjust social structures, which cannot be the basis of hope for a better future. We are far from the so-called “end of history”, since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realised.” (Pope Francis, Evangeli Gaudium).
A commitment to Social Justice, to genuine sustainable development, to peace in our world, is at the core of the work done by Jesuit Missions. Visit our Social Justice page to see how JM supports the work of Jesuits who are standing by some of the most vulnerable people in the world as they seek their human rights and dignity.