Do you find it difficult to rest? Do you find yourself neglecting to spend time with God? This technique might just help you to get in step with God's agenda.
This is a specific form of Lectio Divina (or holy reading) used by the Ignatian religious community, the Chemin Neuf. It is tailored for the individual as they seek God's presence and discernment. It can help form a pattern of regular deep spiritual encounter with the Lord.
Choose a realistic time frame and place. Be comfortable and intentional in making space for God. A short time can be very powerful if properly set up and protected. Could you put aside 30 minutes of your day? You may need more or less time.
How we enter a space often expresses the nature of the interaction we hope to have there. We hope and expect to enter the presence of the living God. You may like to do this by crossing yourself, bowing, using a simple prayer, or removing your shoes as Moses does in Exodus 3. Choose something which works for you.
What is on your heart today? Take a few moments to still and listen to yourself. What do you need today; what are you yearning for; for what does your heart ache? It might be for yourself, others, or the world. Ask God for a gift, or a grace as it is sometimes called.
St Benedict suggests that we should read the Bible like a cow chews the cud, slowly digesting it and repeating a reading. With each reading ask yourself: Which words, phrase or image capture my attention, or "taste good"? Where does my attention linger; what draws my interest? On the third or fourth reading something often resonates. This might be a seemingly insignificant word or something more obvious, but it will feel important for you.
This is called the colloquy, or the heart to heart. Pray with Jesus, sharing your needs and what you found in the passage. Then listen with the ears of your heart to what Jesus might wish to say to you. This might be a word, image, phrase or feeling.
Leave respectfully and slowly, with a gesture, a prayer (the Gloria, for example), as you would if you were leaving someone's home with gratitude for hospitality.
Make a note of what you experienced. What spoke to you from the text and your time of 'heart to heart' with Jesus? Date it so you can come back to it in future to discern God's call.
Words: The Revd Charlie Kerr
Increased screen time can be a cause of deteriorating mental health in young people. The ancient contemplative traditions of Christianity have a lot to offer today. Space Makers brings five mindful practices into our schools.