The Gospel according to Kelly (if I had been there or talked to an eyewitness) Mary had just returned from an early morning run to fetch water from the town well. Her mother, Ann, was not home when she returned. Ann was often called upon for her wisdom and practical knowledge of cures for the body and soul. So Mary finished preparing the meal Ann had obviously started and waited for her mother's return. She took advantage of the quiet time to pray. The sun was starting to rise in the sky and the light that was coming through reflected off her face giving it a radiant glow. She was wearing her blue veil; Mary looked so good in blue. It contrasted nicely against her dark hair and olive-toned skin. Anyway, while she was reciting the second psalm, that part that reads, "I will proclaim the decree of the Lord, he said to me, 'You are my son; today I have begotten you,'" the light in the room became dazzling white. When she looked up Mary saw the figure of a man of God bathed in light whose flowing robes were whiter than any bleach could get any earthy clothes (believe me, I know!). Startled by his presence, he was quick to greet her: “Hail, Full of Grace! The Lord is with you.” Overwhelmed, Mary fell to her knees, face to the ground. The angel held out his hand to her and said, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God …”Robert Campin [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons[/caption]What took me three paragraphs, St. Luke said in 5 sentences. Let’s face it, ladies, we use many more words to tell a story, typically, than men. Think how thick the Bible would be if the four Gospel writers were women! There would be so many more details added and questions answered. That’s for sure. You know what, though? I am glad unnecessary information was not included in the Gospel accounts. It affords me the opportunity to meditate on Scriptures and imagine those details in my own way. My Lectio Divina is more fruitful when I exercise my God-given gift of imagination. “Lectio Divina” is Latin for divine reading. Sometimes I read Scriptures to study it; sometimes I pray it. Lectio Divina is my favorite way to read Scriptures.
How to Pray Using Lectio DivinaWhen praying Scriptures using Lectio Divina, first read through the Bible story you have chosen. Understand what the passage is saying, the literal meaning, what is actually happening in the story, and what lesson is being conveyed to everyone by its telling. Then reread the story. This time meditate on it. Put yourself in the story. Allow the Holy Spirit to use your imagination. Let Him make it personal. In the rereading, you may find that a sentence, phrase or even just a word sticks out to you. If so, stop. Ask the Holy Spirit, why. What is it that He is trying to reveal to you? Pray on it. Experience an intimate encounter with God Himself! Be still and listen. As your prayer time draws to a close, praise God for speaking to you. Talk to Him. Let Him know of your desire to grow closer to Him. Finally, ask Him to give you the grace to let your prayer time bear fruit. After all, lectio ought to lead to actio – prayer should lead to action. The Catechism of the Catholic Church tells us, “His (Jesus’) words and works are the visible manifestation of his prayer in secret” (2602). Hopefully, the same can be said of us. Thus, I rejoice in the missing details and descriptions in Scriptures. I praise God for His gift of imagination (given only to us humans). And I ask the Holy Spirit to guide my Lectio Divina and the actions that follow. The above “Gospel according to Kelly” is an example of what a divine reading of Scripture may be like for me. Perhaps I imagine what Mary was doing at the time of the Annunciation. I wonder how Gabriel sounded and how he interacted with Our Lady. Ultimately, though, I read and reread until something hits me. “The Lord is with you.” What the Angel Gabriel declared to Mary, the Holy Spirit impresses upon me. Jesus is with me, as He was with our Lady, in the flesh. With every Communion, I am, like Mary, a living tabernacle. Then, I sit in awe and quiet to contemplate this favor I have found with God.
Would you like to share a fruit from your meditation on Scriptures? What understanding has the Holy Spirit given to you recently?
Copyright 2018 Kelly Guest
About the Author
God has given Kelly lots of wonderful opportunities to follow Him. She was a Dominican Sister of St. Cecilia in Nashville, an education coordinator for a Catholic Charities' program for pregnant teens, a middle school teacher, a director of religious education and is now a youth minister. Her most challenging and rewarding calling, though, is wife and mother of ten children. What she has learned, she blogs at CatholicMom.com. Kelly's book, Saintly Moms: 25 Stories of Holiness, is due out October 2021.