This new blog will contain the write up of the talk given at the last pizza and prayer. It is a way for our teens to reflect on the talk during the week but also as a way for parents to see what their teen heard this week and a way to continue the discussion at home and make prayer and the faith a continual journey both at Life Teen and at home. Please feel free to share and if you have any questions about the talk feel free to contact Kevin Rosa.
Mark 9:2-10 “Jesus took Peter, James, and John and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no fuller on earth could bleach them. Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses, and they were conversing with Jesus. Then Peter said to Jesus in reply, “Rabbi, it is good that we are here! Let us make three tents: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah. “He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified. Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them; from the cloud came a voice, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him. “Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone but Jesus alone with them.
As they were coming down from the mountain, he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone, except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead. So they kept the matter to themselves, questioning what rising from the dead meant.”
This past Sunday, at our Life Night, we talked about the part of the mass at the beginning, what is called the Liturgy of the Word. The Liturgy of the Word goes from the opening prayer up until the collection/ preparation of the altar where it switches to the part of the Mass called the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Liturgy of the Word is so important because it is during that time that we hear the word of God. The first reading, the responsorial psalm, the second reading, and the Gospel, all come right out of the Bible, and the Bible, as we believe, is the word of God Himself. Though written by human hands, we believe that those who wrote the Bible were inspired by the Holy Spirit. It was not someone just randomly writing down different events, but instead, these people who wrote the Bible were being inspired by God Himself, so basically, it is God writing down His story, through human hands. When we realize that, we should be grabbing for the Bible each day, reading God’s story and discovering more and more about who He is. The Bible also offers so much more than just finding out about who God is, it gives us our history. The Old Testament is all about the creation of the world and where our faith started off at. We see our history with Abraham, Moses, Kind David, and so many more. Moving forward into the New Testament we start out with the Gospels, the actual stories of Jesus here on Earth and what He did during His time here. It is only 4 writers, and only 167 pages( that’s in my Bible, but with different Bibles and text sizes that number of pages will be different). In comparison with the rest of the Bible and all the stories, its not that many pages. Yet contained in these few pages is the life of God here on earth, where He shows us how to live by example. Finally we have the Acts of the Apostles which is like commentary on the Gospels but also talks about what the disciples did after Jesus went back to heaven and it can also show us how to continue Christ’s mission here on Earth. So the Bible gives us our history, as well as the lessons that Christ gave us and how to live our lives, as well as examples by the disciples. The Bible can also offer us comfort as well. Think about a time you have felt alone and forgotten, think about Jesus and how He must have felt when all His friends left Him in His time of need. Jesus knows that feeling and He knows what it felt like to be left and forgotten. In scripture we can turn to Him and find comfort in times of need. Christ came here and fully entered into humanity, He was fully God, but also fully human, so everything He experienced, He experienced it the way we would too, so He knows what it is like and with that in mind, we can turn to Him in scripture for comfort.
So scripture offers us so much, so it is incredibly important that we read it and know it. It can be hard, I am not the biggest fan of reading, so picking up a Bible and just going for it is not the easiest for me. However, it is something that I am working on and something I challenge everyone to do as well. The scriptures are so important (if you haven’t already caught on to that yet, I thought throwing it in there again would really drive my case home) so we have to take up that challenge of grabbing a Bible and reading them. Again, this is coming from someone who doesn’t like to read, we have to do it. As St. Jerome put it “Ignorance of scripture is ignorance of God.” These are Gods words, not human words, laid out for us in a neat and organized way, we have to take advantage of that.
One of the best ways to look at scripture is through prayer and praying with the scriptures. This prayer is called Lectio Divina, which means Divine Reading. This prayer allows us to take a short passage from the Bible and really read into it, dig into it, and let God talk to us through scripture. There are four steps in Lectio and these steps should be done with a fairly short scripture verse, it should not be a full chapter out of the Bible, but it should be a short selection with a few verses. The scripture above from the Gospel of Mark was the one we used tonight for Pizza and Prayer so feel free to try Lectio with these selection, or you can choose another, but make sure it is not too long. The one above I would say is on the longer end of what you would want and I would try to even shorten it if you can.
The 4 steps of Lectio Divina:
- The reading: This is where you actually read the verse/s you have selected. You should read it more than once to really understand it. The first time though read it as you would any book, just read and get the facts, the who, what, where, when’s of the story and just get an idea of what you are reading. The second read through, slow it down a bit and try and put yourself into the scene that you are reading to understand it a bit more. The third time through, slow it down even more and look for a word or phrase that has been standing out to you while you have been reading. This can be one word, or a short phrase, it will be different for everyone, and it won’t always be what you expect. From the passage above I had “Listen”, when they hear the voice say “This is my beloved Son. Listen to Him.” It was not the whole phrase, just the word Listen. For you it might be different, but look for that word that sticks out to you. If necessary, read through it even more, but I would say 3 times through is the minimum number of times to read through it.
- The Mediation: This is where you take that word or phrase that stuck out to you and meditate on it. Repeat it in you head a few times, chew on it and let God speak to you through that word or phrase. What is it that He is trying to convey to you? What is this scripture saying to me, in my heart?
- The Response: This is where we take what we have mediated on respond to it by praying to God. This is the time to open the conversation with God about this scripture, more specifically, about that word or phrase that stuck out to you. It is also a time to ask God for the grace to do His will or where we say we are sorry. For me, when that word “listen” popped out for me, I know that I have a hard time listening to God so my prayer to God simply was, “give me the grace to be able to hear you”. Whatever may come up in your mediation, this is where we respond to it.
- Rest: This is a pure gift for us, from God. This is where we just be with Him, look at Him, while He looks at us and allow Him to reveal whatever He may want for us. It is a time to just be with Him and be in His presence.
- ( This is a step that some people include in Lectio and some don’t, but I’ll tell it to you anyways) Action: This is where we make a concrete decision to do something in order to help us grow in our faith and our relationship with Christ, based off our mediation. This is the time where we take all that God has revealed to us in Lectio and do something with it.
Lectio can take sometime to get use to, so don’t worry if on the first time you get distracted or you feel like nothing is sticking out to you, it’s ok. If you are a little hesitant about where I should start a Lectio Divina, start with the Gospels. The Gospels are an awesome place, and one of the more easier reading to understand. However, if questions do come up while you are praying, don’t let that get you down, ask the questions to a priest, youth minister, core members, parents, whoever it may be that can answer it, seek that answer though, don’t just give up. The scriptures are an awesome place to learn about God, His love for us, and to pray with them. Take this time during the season of Lent and really dive into the scriptures, let God speak to you through His words and let those words change your heart.