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: Sacred Heart (Friday 3rd June)
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 a homily Pope Francis gave on 22nd September 2013 in Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy. In it Pope Francis discusses Jesus Christ and his deep love for and solidarity with the most in need. What better way to consider Christ’s divine love for humanity (Sacred Heart) by remembering his radical levels of humility? Perhaps praying with this passage will give you a fresh perspective of a Christian feast day and devotion that might have previously eluded understanding?
“Looking at Jesus we see he chose the path of humility and service. Rather, he himself is this path. Jesus was not indecisive; he was not indifferent. He made a decision and followed it through until the end. He decided to become man and as a man to become a servant until his death on the cross. This is the way of love, there is no other…
Christ’s humility is not moralism or a feeling. Christ’s humility is real, it is the choice of being small, of staying with the lowliest and with the marginalised, staying among all of us sinners. Be careful, this is not an ideology! It is a way of being and a way of life that comes from love and from God’s heart…
For the Good Shepherd what is far, what is on the margins, what is lost and unappreciated is the object of greater care, and the Church cannot but make her own this special love and attention. The first in the Church are those who are the most in need; humanly, spiritually, materially, the neediest.” (Pope Francis, Cagliari, 22nd September 2013)
Some questions to consider while praying:
- What paths have I chosen to walk down with my life? How can I walk closer to Christ?
- Where does ‘the choice of being small’ exist in my world?
- Who are the lost and unappreciated in my daily experiences?
- What can I learn from the Sacred Heart, the deep love and humility, of Jesus Christ?
Final words of wisdom:
“Our life must become prayer, and our prayers must become life. Every Christian life story is also a story of prayer, one long attempt to achieve ever greater union with God.” YouCat [Young Catechism of the Catholic Church], 2010.
Jesuit Missions reflection on this prayer:
We realise how important “the choice of being small, of staying with the lowliest and with the marginalised” is in the life of Christians. This is the ethos behind the volunteering placements Jesuit Missions offer, which allow people the chance to embark on a life-changing and faith-deepening experience .