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Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Community Spotlight: Carmelite Monks, WY




Order: Carmelite
Gender: Male
Charism: Contemplative
Eligibility: At least 18 years of age, age limit of 35, high school graduate, free of debt and loans
Formation: One year of postulancy, two year novitiate, three years temporary profession
Vows: Poverty, chastity and obedience
Practices: Extraordinary Form Mass, Divine Office
History: Inspired by the instruction of the Second Vatican Council to return to the spirit of the founders, the Monks of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel has arisen for the renewal of the Carmelite monastic life and to carefully preserve through monastic enclosure a “life hidden with Christ in God.” In 2003, the grace of the Holy Spirit drew together the first fathers of this institute into a community of solitary men united by the same ideal: to cultivate diligently the seeds of virtue and contemplation in a divine family of fathers and brothers united in love. From the beginning of this religious institute, in the solitude of northern Wyoming, the Lord has seen fit to call young men to embrace this monastic life of austerity and contemplation that they might illumine the whole world by the holiness of their lives. [From their website]


Recommended:

Mystic Monk Coffee

Mystic Monk Tea
Religious Gifts - rosaries, chaplets, saints medals, books, crucifixes, statues

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Vocation Story: Elias Gweme CSsR

Elias Gweme CSsR - sharing his Journey.

Source


phoca_thumb_l_100_5371It all started in the late '80s when I used to sit with my brother in our spare bedroom scrutinizing this strange picture of a woman. What struck us so much were the eyes. No matter how we would try to hide, we would feel that she was staring at us and indeed, she always was. Some priests had given my mother two pictures of this woman many years before. As a family, we would always have our night prayers together but on busy days the girls would pray in their room, mum and dad in their bedroom, and we, the boys, in our bedroom. My brother and I would look forward to these days, but the problem was the woman on the other side of the room. We knew those eyes would look at us until we had said our night prayers, so we would take the picture, put it under the bed and go to sleep.


phoca_thumb_l_100_5357However, the biggest suprise of all came at the end of 1997. After I got to know the Redemptorists through the Catholic Church News and from some friends, I came to a 'come and see' experience, a vocations workshop with the Redemptorists. I was given a nice room, and when I looked around it, there was that woman again, this time she had a bigger shinier picture. I looked at her with utter amazement, so much so that the Brother who was looking after me noticed and said 'this is the icon of our most blessed mother, Our Lady of Perpetual Help'.
He explained many other things which I did not take in at the time because I was already trying to connect my own mother with the Redemptorists. Late that night as I was lying on the bed looking at what I now knew to be the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, I felt this was my home and I said here I could stay. The following year I was welcomed by the Redemptorist community as a postulant together with Br. Mark Chandavengerwa and others.
'A Religious vocation is a gift freely given and freely recieved.'
Pope John Paul II - San Antonio, 1987
phoca_thumb_l_100_5404Ever since, I have continued to grow both physically and spiritually. After a year of Catechesis and Christian Ethics at Wdzanai Catechetical Centre, I started my philosophy studies in the year 2000 at Arrupe College and completed them in 2002. I was then a novice in South Africa under the 'close watch' of Fr. Andrew Burns CSsR. After the celebration of my first vows, I started theological studies as one of the pioneers at Holy Trinity College. Over those years of study, I have had a chance to visit the province and participated in the 2007 spirituality course in Italy. This served as preparation for my final vows and diaconate, which we celebrated on the 19th and 20th of April 2008.
phoca_thumb_l_100_5846On Profession day, Fr. Richard Reid CSsR was the preacher. Soon after the ceremony my sister said;"so they send you people to Rome to learn how to preach?". I said;"no it's done here in Tafara". I don't think she believed me! I wish to say thanks to the brothers here in the region and throughout the whole province for their support.
Special thanks to Fr. Ronnie the Provincial and to Archbishop Ndlovu who graced our celebrations. God has and will continue to answer our prayers.
'You are at the great crossroads of your lives, and you must decide.'
Pope John Paul II - Edinburgh, 1982
phoca_thumb_l_candle bannerNow my mother remembers two priests whom she helped when they were preaching in her home parish. She cannot remember their names but she said they were nice people and at the week of preaching, they gave her two icons of Our Lady of Perpetual Help

Monday, 18 June 2012

Saints Corner: St. Raphael the Archangel


Name: St. Raphael the Archangel (Saint of Sickness)
In Hebrew the name Raphael means "It is God who heals", "God Heals", "God, Please Heal".
Birth & Death: Not sure Angels have briths or deaths?
Feast Day: 29 September
Country of Origin: St. Raphael the Archangel is an angel, so his country of origin is "God's Kindgom".
History: He first appears disguised in human form as the travelling companion of the younger Tobias, calling himself "Azarias the son of the great Ananias". The story of the adventurous journey during which the protective influence of the angel is shown in many ways including the binding "in the desert of upper Egypt" of the demon who had previously slain seven husbands of Sara, daughter of Raguel, is picturesquely related in Tobit 5-11, to which the reader is referred. After the return and the healing of the blindness of the elder Tobias, Azarias makes himself known as "the angel Raphael, one of the seven, who stand before the Lord" (Tobit 12:15. Cf. Revelation 8:2). Of these seven "archangels" which appear in the angelology of post-Exilic Judaism, only three, Gabriel, Michael and Raphael, are mentioned in the canonical Scriptures. The others, according to the Book of Enoch (cf. xxi) are Uriel, Raguel, Sariel, and Jerahmeel, while from other apocryphal sources we get the variant names Izidkiel, Hanael, and Kepharel instead of the last three in the other list.


Recommended:
Saints.SPQN.com
Catholic Encyclopaedia

Religious Retreats

Just thought I would tell you all that by Canon Law, all Religious have to have a retreat every year. The amount of time spent on annual retreats is usually a week, sometimes six days, or, in some cases eight days or more. You would have to ask individual congregations about how long this is in their community as it differs quite substantially from congregation to congregation. If you would like to know more, please give us an email on vocationoperation@live.co.uk.

God Bless and Peace in Christ,
Kim Lee

Saint's Corner: Elizabeth of Schönau



Name: Elizabeth of Schönau
Birth & Death: 1129 - 18 June 1165
Feast Day: 18 June
Country of Origin: Germany
History: Elizabeth entered the Benedictine Schönau Abbey when she was 12 years old. She made her profession in 1147 at the age of about 18 and became the superior of the nuns in 1157. She was known for having visions and ecstasies and with the help of her brother wrote three books describing these.


Recommended:

Catholic Encyclopaedia

Saints.SQPN.com

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Blog Update

Both Emily and I have written a guide on formation to give you all a bit more insight on how the whole process of becoming a Religious works. It can be confusing, so we have broken it down into stages, but please bear in mind that each community will differ slightly, although the stages themselves will follow in the same order. Most communities don't really mention aspirancy as it is like the "invisible stage" because you have not officially entered with them. Aspirancy comes from the words, "to aspire" - as in you "aspire" to belong to a particular community. Sometimes the vows you take can be to a general government rather than a particular house - you may wish to look out for that, because if there is "general government" - you could be sent just about anywhere in the world, so be prepared for that!

With all God's Love and Blessings,

Kim Lee

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Guides: Stages of Formation

Written by Emily & Kim



When I was first interested in the religious life, I had absolutely no idea how one became a Religious (Religious with a capital R denotes the noun of being a Religious. Otherwise it just describes one's faith). Though of course every community is different, there is a significant amount of overlap in these processes so although some communities may deviate from this pattern, most will follow a process like this. I give here only an overall guide to the stages since the specifics of the responsibilities and study of religious in each stage will vary greatly between communities.

Canon Law restricts the age of those who enter the novitiate, stating that they must have reached 17 years of age. This practically limits the age of entrance to the postulancy to 16 but it is unusual for entrance to be at such a young age. Some communities who mutually decide with the discerner that it would be beneficial to the progress of one's vocation allow discerners under the age of entrance for postulancy to "live in" in before postulancy and extend aspirancy. There are communities however, who have special discernment programmes for girls and boys as young as eight years old. For more information on that, please contact Kim Lee.

Stage 0: Aspirancy
Aspirancy is more a time of exploration with a religious community rather than a stage of formation, which is why I've called it 'Stage 0' but is still important. Aspirancy refers to the period when an individual is discerning with a specific community. This is where an individual will get to know a community, visiting the community for retreats and if the community allows spending time there on a live-in. This can, in some communities be up to two years.

Stage 1: Postulancy
When someone first enters a religious community they are known as a postulant. The length of time spent as a postulant is variable, ranging by community generally from six to eighteen months. Postulants are not always referred to using a religious title at this stage (ie. Sister, Brother). For communities that wear the traditional habit, a postulant is not yet clothed in the habit. Some communities may have postulants wear regular clothes or have a specific uniform. At this stage the individual is free to leave the community at any point.

Stage 2: Novitiate
This is when the individual will become known by the appropriate religious title. If members of the community take on new religious names then this is when those begin to be used. Also, this is when the individual will be clothed in the habit (if applicable) although usually with some modification, such as a different colour of veil. The novitiate usually lasts for two years. As with postulancy, the individual is still free to choose to leave the community at any point.

Stage 3: Juniorate/Temporary Vows/Temporary Profession 
At this stage, the individual will profess vows usually for a period of three years. The individual is now bound to the community for the period of these vows. For female religious, the veil worn often changes at this stage, either to a modified version of the novice veil or the same colour as the solemnly professed. Many communities also allow for renewal of temporary vows for a year before making final vows if the individual needs more time to discern.

Stage 4: Final/Solemn Vows/Profession
The individual now takes vows that bind them to the community permanently. The individual will have spent usually between 5 and 6 years in the community by this point.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Community Spotlight: Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church




Order: Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Church
Gender: Female
Apostolate: Retreat centre, youth ministry, education
Eligibility: 18-35 years of age, high school diploma or equivalent
Formation: Up to one year of postulancy, two years in the novitiate, temporary profession followed by final profession
Vows: Poverty, chastity and obedience
Practices: Rosary, Adoration, Liturgy of the Hours
History: The sisters were originally part of sedevacantist group, which they left in order to reconcile with the Church.
Recommended:
Coming Home - several articles on their journey to reconciliation with the Church

News & Events
Immaculate Heart Retreat Centre

Update: Kim's Story

Hi everyone,

I just thought I would let you know that I have updated my page, Kim's Story in case you wanted a more up-to-date insight into what I am doing and thinking about now with regards to my vocation.

Asking for your prayers, while assuring you of mine,

Kim :)

Monday, 11 June 2012

Prayers: Rosary

Is there a more well-known Catholic devotion than the Rosary? If there is, haven't heard of it yet!

History of the Rosary
"The rosary probably began as a practice by the laity to imitate the monastic Divine Office (Breviary or Liturgy of the Hours), during the course of which the monks daily prayed the 150 Psalms. The laity, many of whom could not read, substituted 50, or even 150, Ave Marias (Hail Marys) for the Psalms. This prayer, at least the first half of it so directly biblically, seems to date from as early as the 2nd century, as ancient graffiti at Christian sites has suggested.
Sometimes a cord with knots on it was used to keep an accurate count of the Aves."

"The first clear historical reference to the rosary, however, is from the life of St. Dominic (died in 1221), the founder of the Order of Preachers or Dominicans. He preached a form of the rosary in France at the time that the Albigensian heresy was devastating the Faith there. Tradition has it that the Blessed Mother herself asked for the practice as an antidote for heresy and sin."

"One of Dominic's future disciples, Alain de Roche, began to establish Rosary Confraternities to promote the praying of the rosary. The form of the rosary we have today is believed to date from his time. Over the centuries the saints and popes have highly recommended the rosary, the greatest prayer in the Church after the Mass and Liturgy of the Hours. Not surprisingly, it's most active promoters have been Dominicans."

Source: EWTN

Why is it called the Rosary?
"Rosary means acrown of roses, a spiritual bouquet given to the Blessed Mother. It is sometimes called the Dominican Rosary, to distinguish it from other rosary-like prayers (e.g. the Franciscan Rosary of the Seven Joys or Franciscan Crown, the Servite Rosary of the Seven Sorrows). It is also, in a general sense, a form of chaplet or corona (crown), of which there are many varieties in the Church. Finally, in English it has been called "Our Lady's Psalter" or "the beads." This last derives from an Old English word for prayers (bede) and to request (biddan or bid)."

Source: EWTN

What prayers are used in the Rosary?
You'll need these prayers:
Apostles Creed
Our Father
Hail Mary
Glory Be
Fatima Prayer
Hail Holy Queen

How do I pray the Rosary? 



I've posted a diagram above since it's the easiest way to learn to pray the Rosary. Descriptions are unnecessarily complicated and fussy and pictures are much clearer. 

What are the sets of mysteries? 
There are four sets of mysteries that are meditated upon when praying the Rosary: the Joyful Mysteries, the Sorrowful Mysteries, the Glorious Mysteries and the Luminous Mysteries. Traditionally, only the first three were prayed, with the Luminous Mysteries being proposed by the Blessed Pope John Paul II. Some choose to only pray the three traditional sets of mysteries. 

What are the Joyful Mysteries? When do you use the Joyful Mysteries?
The Joyful Mysteries are:
1. The Annunciation
2. The Visitation
3. The Nativity
4. The Presentation
5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple

The Joyful Mysteries are prayed on Mondays and Saturdays, or on Mondays and Thursdays in the traditional schedule. The relevant Scripture passages for the Joyful Mysteries can be found here

What are the Sorrowful Mysteries? When do you use the Sorrowful Mysteries?
The Sorrowful Mysteries are:
1. The Agony is the Garden
2. The Scourging at the Pillar
3. The Crowning with Thorns
4. The Carrying of the Cross
5. The Crucifixion

The Sorrowful Mysteries are prayed on Tuesdays and Fridays in both the new schedule and the traditional schedule. The relevant Scripture passages for the Sorrowful Mysteries can be found here

What are the Glorious Mysteries? When do you use the Glorious Mysteries?
The Glorious Mysteries are: 
1. The Resurrection
2. The Ascension
3. The Descent of the Holy Spirit
4. The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
5. The Coronation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Glorious Mysteries are prayed on Wednesdays and Sundays, or on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays in the traditional schedule. The relevant Scripture passages for the Glorious Mysteries can be found here

What are the Luminous Mysteries? When do you use the Luminous Mysteries?
The Luminous Mysteries are:
1. The Baptism in the Jordan
2. The Wedding at Cana
3. Proclamation of the Kingdom
4. The Transfiguration
5. Institution of the Eucharist

The Luminous Mysteries and prayed on Thursdays in the new schedule and not used in the traditional schedule. The relevant Scripture passages for the Luminous Mysteries can be found here

Where can I buy a Rosary?
Rosaries can be found in stores attached to churches, in Catholic bookstores, online, you name it. These are a few online stores where you can buy rosaries:
Cenacle Catholic Books and Gifts - includes rosaries for children and storage options
Inspired Treasures - rosaries made by an aspiring religious to help fundraise for her entrance into religious life
Notting Hill Carmelites - rosaries from Carmelite nuns in London 
Handmade Wood Rosaries - from the Dominican nuns of Summit, NJ
Monastery Craftshop - rosaries made by Cistercian nuns

Links

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Consecrated Virgins

Consecrated virginity is a vocation that pre-dates religious life for women but has lost favour over the centuries with the rise of other forms of religious life for women but is experiencing a revival. Though some members of religious communities may also become consecrated virgins, one does not have to be a member of a religious community to become a consecrated virgin.

For the purposes of this post I have read everything I can get my hands on about consecrated virginity. Despite this my knowledge is still painfully limited and I cannot possibly explain everything for you better than others have already done so. So for the sakes of simplicity, clarity and accuracy I turn you over to those much more well-informed than myself. The links provided below give much better information that I could ever hope to.

Consecrated Virgins
Sponsa Christi - this a great blog by a young consecrated virgin and gives a lot of great resources
Espoused to Him - another blog by a consecrated virgin
United States Association of Consecrated Virgins - provides information on consecrated virginity

Church Documents
Vita Consecrata - on the consecrated life and its mission in the Church and in the world
Sacra Virginitas - on consecrated virginity
Apostolorum Successores - pastoral ministry of Bishops
Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity - this comes from Sponsa Christi (linked above)

About
Consecrated Virginity - a short document on consecrated virginity from the Diocese of Salford
Consecrated Virginity - another short article on consecrated virginity from the Diocese of Shrewsbury


Saints Who Were Consecrated Virgins NB: This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a few examples.

St. Margaret of Antioch
St. Felicula of Rome
St. Cecilia of Rome
St. Apollonia of Alexandria
St. Paula of Nicomedia
St. Domnina of Terni
St. Sophia of Fermo
St. Digna of Rome
St. Emerita of Rome

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Blog Update

The 'Vocations Resources' page of this blog has been updated to include some new resources and some Church documents on matters relating to vocations. I am also in the process of expanding our 'Marriage' section, again adding more resources and some Church documents.

I have scheduled for tomorrow a super-exciting post that I've been working on for a while. It should come up at 12PM (GMT) so don't forget to check it out!

Saint's Corner: St. Marcellin Champagnat




Name: Marcellin Champagnat
Birth & Death: 20 May 1789 - 6 June 1840
Feast Day: 6 June
Country of Origin: France
History: He was ordained a priest in 1816 and found at his first post that he was discouraged by the isolation of the villagers and the lack of solid teaching in the faith. In response he founded the Marist Brothers, dedicating their mission to education.

Recommended:
Saints.SQPN.com

Marist Brothers

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Community Spotlight: Our Lady of Clear Creek Abbey, Tulsa OK



Order: Benedictine
Gender: Men
Charism: Contemplative/monastic
Eligibility: Unknown
Formation: Unknown
Vows: Stability, obedience and conversion of life
Practices: Extraordinary Form Mass, Benediction and Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament on Sundays and holy days, Latin Gregorian Chant and Divine Office, 
History: Clear Creek Abbey was founded in 1999 by monks from the Abbey of Fontgombault, France. It is a part of the Solesmes Congregation and gained status as an abbey in 2010. For more information see here.

Recommended: 
Gift Store - featuring rosaries, CD's, books, DVD's

Monday, 4 June 2012

Community Spotlight: Trinitarians of Mary




Order: Trinitarians of Mary
Gender: Women
Charism: Contemplative
Eligibility: Aged 18-35
Formation: Unknown
Vows: Poverty, chastity, obedience
Practices: Divine Office, twice daily rosary, mercy chaplet, perpetual Adoration
History: Founded by Mother Lillie after a pilgrimage to Fatima and dedicated to Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration for the building up of the Church around the world and in support of priests. They first began in Tijuana, Mexico, in 1994 after a generous benefactor donated land to them. The community began with Mother Lillie and three sisters and young women soon flocked to the community. In 1996 the community was asked to found a new house in Guadalajara, Mexico and in 2004 another new house was founded in San Diego, USA as well as one is Grand Rapids, USA. Video


Recommended:
Music

Vocational Retreats
Volunteers

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Vocation Story: Sr. Della Marie

This vocation story comes from the Franciscan Sisters, T.O.R, of Penance of the Sorrowful Mother.

Though I was baptized Catholic, I was raised in a Protestant church until seventh grade, when my father returned to Catholicism. But even so, I held on to a lot of misconceptions about the Catholic faith until my junior year of high school. I didn’t understand that Church Tradition was rooted in Scripture, which led me to disregard the role of the Magisterium of the Church, confession, Mary, and the communion of saints in my faith life. Ironically, it was through reading Sacred Scripture that my heart changed. On one occasion as I read Christ’s words from the cross to His Mother: “‘Woman, behold your son,’ and to the beloved disciple, ‘Behold your Mother’ (cf. John 19:25-27),” I realized that Christ was giving His Mother to all of His disciples, including me. Through this experience I began to search in Scripture for other doctrines that I had previously disregarded.

Before this total reversion, I had a profound experience after reading the account of two early Church martyrs, Sts. Perpetua and Felicity, who chose to die rather than renounce their faith. I was so touched by their witness that I thought, “The greatest thing that one can do with their life is to die for love of Jesus.” In that moment the Lord spoke to my heart: “Will you be a spiritual mother? There are many children whose own mothers do not care for their souls. And you will experience a death.” This touched me very deeply, though I didn’t completely understand what He was asking of me. But I knew it was connected to my vocation.

As a sophomore in college, I didn’t know you could go to Mass every day. A Baptist friend who lived near the Catholic Church and noticed people going there daily asked me if I would go with her to Mass so she could see what it was like when there wasn’t a lot of people there. I thought, “Wow, you can go to Mass every day!” So I went with her, and after Mass, a woman came up to us and told us about Franciscan University of Steubenville. I was looking to transfer colleges and change my major to nursing. A few days later my Mom called to tell me that she had learned about Franciscan University at a booth at the Diocese of Portland youth conference. She informed me that they had an excellent nursing program. That decided it for me.

At Franciscan I began to see young, joyful religious sisters and brothers, and I was attracted to their life. But I couldn’t accept it for myself. My biggest obstacle to accepting a call to religious life was a poor self-image. I needed boyfriends to be my source of self-worth and couldn’t imagine being happy or fulfilled without this. What I really needed was healing. I had head knowledge of God’s love for me, but it wasn’t in my heart. Deep down I felt there was something wrong with me and that God couldn’t love me. I placed my worth in external things, and this only deepened my feelings of worthlessness.

Through adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament I began to experience healing and a deep sense of my worth rooted in Christ’s love for me. This prepared me for saying “yes” to a religious vocation. I planned to work over spring break because of my financial needs. My roommate wanted me to go on a discernment retreat with her. But I told her the Lord usually makes it clear to me when He wants me to do something like that, and besides, I needed to work. The week of spring break, a student in one of my classes pulled me aside to tell me the Lord had put it on her heart to give me the amount of money I would be making over spring break so that I could go on the discernment retreat. I told her I didn’t want to take her money, but she insisted, telling me that she would just buy clothes with it and she didn’t need any. After months of begging me to go on the retreat, my roommate didn’t believe me when I told her I would be going.

At the retreat, the first talk mentioned how being a “spiritual mother” was a significant part of the call to religious life. This struck me deeply and I knew for certain that the question put to me seven years earlier, “Will you be a spiritual mother?” was God’s invitation to be His spouse, to be a religious sister. I said “yes” on the feast of the Annunciation (not really knowing what the feast was) during the discernment retreat.

A year later, doors began to open quickly. I visited our community with a couple of my friends and was drawn to our community’s way of life for its focus on Scripture, Eucharistic adoration, daily Divine Mercy Chaplet, fasting on Wednesdays and Fridays, praise and worship, simplicity, poverty, and a balanced way of life that included regular exercise and healthy diet. I just felt at home with the sisters.

As I prepared to enter the sisters, the Lord reminded me of my desire to die for love of Him, and He showed me how through the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience I would be able to die for love of Him every day. It is awesome for me to experience the strength of God within me in spite of my weaknesses. I know how deeply incapable I am of living the evangelical counsels (vows), and yet through God’s grace and mercy I am able to live them with love and joy. I hope to always be filled with gratitude for the great things the Lord has done for me!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Your Prayer Corner

Your Prayer Corner

Source: Bon Secours Sisters NB: I have edited this slightly from the original to remove certain parts - Emily

Suggestions How to Begin in Prayer
  • Choose a time and comfortable place free from distractions where it is quiet. Perhaps a candle or crucifix, a holy card, or Icon of Jesus or Mary or other object, or music will help you to prayerfully center.
  • Become quiet and center yourself. Let your breathing draw you into your center.
  • Be aware of being in God’s presence who is within and around you,
  • Ask God for the grace you seek, e.g., gratitude, guidance in a decision to make or handling a problem, greater awareness of Jesus, or sorrow for sin.
Informal Prayer (saying what we mean)
  • Slow down
  • Touch into what is happening interiorly — your feelings, thoughts, and concerns.
  • Let them surface.
  • Use your own words to tell God your feelings (prayer) — love, joy, sadness, anger, gratitude, praise, anxiety, or passion. Talk about what you are feeling with God and allow God to respond. It is like carrying on a conversation with your friend.
  • Give thanks to God for this time.
Scripture reading/Lectio Divina
  • It’s not just about reading or study. It’s listening to Scripture with your whole being— eyes, ears, imagination, mind, and especially your heart.
  • Pick a passage from the Gospels, psalms, epistles, or other books of the Bible.
  • Find a quiet place where you’re alone.
  • Find the most relaxed and peaceful posture.
  • Place yourself in God’s presence— be aware of God in and around you.
  • Read the passage slowly; listen to the words— two or three times.
Pray the passage in one of these ways:

1. Let words or phrases catch your attention, speak to your heart. Listen. Then respond to God speaking to you through the Scripture. OR

2. Close your eyes and use your imagination. Put yourself in the story. Be there. See, smell, feel, taste, listen; notice people, sounds, colors. Are you one of the characters or an observer? Talk with Jesus or the others in the scene or with God about what is happening in the scene. Respond …Then be still. OR

3. Read the text and let it bring to you silence, lift your heart to God. Just be there. Read it slowly again. Let it speak to you, reflect on it. Talk to Jesus or God about it. Read it a third time: what is it saying to you; what is God trying to say to you— ask God. How does this touch my life? Close by thanking God for this time and maybe saying the Our Father.

Journaling
Journaling allows us to carry on a conversation between God and our selves and to reflect on our experiences and learn from them. It’s a sharing of the heart.
  • Write your thoughts, feelings, reactions; what inspires you; what insights you have; what moves you as you pray and after you pray?
  • Dialogue with Jesus. Write what you say and also Jesus’ response.
  • Write a letter to God. How does God respond to you?
Examination of Consciousness
A method to reflect on your life and day in a prayerful context.


  • Ask the Holy Spirit to help you reflect on your day.

  • Recall your day; what do you thank God for today? Give God thanks.

  • Recalling the day: What did you see; hear with your ears and your heart in people and in your experiences today?

  • Ask: What’s God got to do with it? How was God there with me?

  • What was positive, negative, routine, or ambiguous?

  • How is God calling you to respond or grow?

  • Ask God to help you respond.