December 22, 2007

"Lectio Divina" online

[Update! Lots of you found the link that I was looking for. Thank you!]

Carmelite Scripture Reflection Goes Online

"Lectio Divina" Directed by Biblical Scholar

[Reported by]

Rome, December 21

Pope John Paul II called the Carmelite spirituality a treasure for the whole Christian community. Mindful of that, Carmelite leaders have found a way to put their charism online.The Carmelite Order launched a three-language Internet site with Scripture meditations for each Sunday of the liturgical year, in Cycles A-C.

Father Anthony Cilia directs the site. He told ZENIT, "Conscious of the fact that 'Carmel is a treasure for the entire Christian community,' as John Paul II stated, 'lectio divina' online was born ultimately to answer the question: How can we communicate our Carmelite charism through the Internet, and at the same time evangelize people?"

In September 2001, the order celebrated its general chapter and chose Father Carlos Mesters as general director. Father Mesters is well known as a biblical scholar.

Father Cilia decided to avail of the superior's knowledge and proposed the idea of "lectio divina" online. Father Mesters accepted the idea, and with the collaboration of many other Carmelites, the initiative was launched.

Gradual progress

During the first three years, the reflections were uploaded every two weeks, and, in the following three years, the remaining Sunday texts, including the solemnities, were uploaded. With Year C of 2006-2007, the Sunday reflections were completed.

"Driven by the signs of the times, the thirst for the word of God, and the urging of the new prior general, beginning with this Advent we began the daily edition of 'lectio divina online,' using the daily Gospel," Father Cilia explained. "It is difficult to say where this reaches and how many people use our 'lectio,' since the word of God can be accessed quickly on the Internet, silently and without barriers."

Electronic counters say almost 4,000 users visit the site weekly to pray or to download the reflections. The Carmelite publishing house is considering publishing all the texts. That way, Father Cilia explained, "Any person without Internet access, or who prefers to assimilate the word of God in another way, can make use of this wealth Carmel offers."

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The link for "Lectio Divina Online" is part of a Carmelite website.
Click HERE for it.

December 21, 2007

winter solstice

December 21, when the sun reaches its lowest point in the sky at noon, making the shortest day and longest night of the year

Beginning this day, the noonday sun reaches higher and higher until the summer solstice, when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky at noon, making the longest day and shortest night of the year.

From Latin solstitium,
from sol ‘sun’ + stit- ‘stopped, stationary’

On December 21, the Church invokes Christ as “Rising Sun” in the Alleluia Verse at Mass and in the Antiphon for the Gospel Canticle at Evening Prayer (Vespers):
O Rising Sun,
Splendor of Eternal Light,
and Sun of Justice,
come and enlighten them that sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death.

December 20, 2007

Hail, Mary . . . .

I've posted my homily on the "Hail, Mary" Gospel of today's Mass.
Click HERE for it.

December 18, 2007

The growing popularity of an ancient way of Scriptural prayer from the monasteries

"Lectio Divina" Seen as a Compass and Spiritual GPS
Site on Meditation of Scripture Aims to Attract Youth


By Miriam Díez i Bosch

A "spiritual GPS" and a "compass for life" are two images that have been used to illustrate the importance of reading the Bible, says a Catholic consultor for the United Biblical Societies.

Ricardo Grozna said this to ZENIT when commenting on the Web site, which offers guides for "lectio divina," or the meditative reading of Scripture, and aims especially to attract youth. It already has 50,000 users.

"To define 'lectio divina' as a GPS [Global Positioning System] is to see in it a satellite that tells us where we are, like a compass, which indicates to us the path to follow," Grozna said. He commented that Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, "has referred to 'lectio divina' as a GPS, and the Pope has defined the Bible as a 'compass for life.'"

Sacred Scripture "is a book that interprets my life; the Bible ends up being like a mirror that helps me, and teaches me to seek a path," Grozna added. "For years, Pope John Paul II and then Benedict XVI insisted a great deal that 'lectio divina,' which was a method of monastic prayer of the monks, could reach all Christians."

Novel evangelization

The program of "lectio divina" on the Internet consists in offering users texts and MP3 files. Users are chiefly youth who download the audio files on their mobile phones. Grozna explained that the aim of the program is to train young people who can lead other youth in reading the Bible.

"The Church is taking all the programs promoting biblical reading as a priority," explained Grozna, pointing especially to his experience in Latin America. "Catholics have delayed a little in rediscovering the Bible, but the Bible has always been present in the Church. [...] I don't read the Bible, it is the Bible that reads me."

Grozna said the site's success is shown by hundreds of e-mail messages from youth telling "how they are changing their lives by following the prayerful reading."

The method is also ecumenical, he added: "'Lectio divina' has been a point for moving forward in dialogue with other Christian brothers." And it also serves as a social apostolate, "In some countries, the parish youth are using the method of 'lectio divina' to reach ostracized youth; those who are in very poor neighborhoods, those who have been victims of drugs, violence, gangs."

Hugo Flores, manager of the site, was in Rome to present the program. He told ZENIT the program has been well received by theologians and biblical scholars. "They have taken 'lectio divina' as a point to help them evangelize and carry the word of the Lord to more groups. Cardinals, bishops, priests ... they are fascinated with this novelty, this new form of evangelizing through the Internet."

December 18 in Advent

Second Day of Advent II

I've posted a homily for today's Mass.
Click HERE for it.

December 17, 2007

Constant Prayer

John 20:20-22
… the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord.
JESUS said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the
SENT me, even so
I SEND YOU.” And when he had said this, he
BREATHED on them, and said to them, “Receive the

In those three verses I see the constant pattern of relationship between God and us.

By the power of the Holy Spirit,
the Father sent Jesus among us—
through flesh-and-blood birth
and through flesh-and-blood resurrection—

In his human lungs
the Risen Jesus breathes the Holy Spirit:
to us,
into us,
on behalf of us.

That is how the Father,
through Jesus,
gives us the Holy Spirit
for resurrection in our flesh and blood,
sending us throughout the world
for the glory of God
and for the good of men.

I make this a constant prayer.

As I breathe in,
I say in my mind:
Father, Jesus, Spirit

As I breathe out,
I say in my mind:
I come to do your will

When I can, I spend time deliberately doing nothing else but that.

Otherwise, I try to do it throughout all the hours of the day, in whatever else I am doing.

I begin it with my first conscious breath when I awake each morning.

When I go to bed, I let it accompany me into sleep.

Ephesians 6:18
Pray at all times in the Spirit.

1 Thessalonians 5:17-19
Pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.

The “GREAT ANTIPHONS”or “O Antiphons” of Advent II (December 17 to 24)

During the eight days of the second and last part of Advent, the Church’s official prayers for the sunset hour or early evening (Vespers) include special invocations of the Messiah, with a different invocation assigned to each of the evenings. These invocations are called “refrains” or “antiphons”

[Note. The Church observes the end of Advent and the beginning of Christmas at sundown on December 24. So, on that day, the Church’s evening prayer already celebrates Christmas, not Advent.]

In reverse chronological order, the initial letters of the Messianic titles in these invocations spell out the Latin words, ERO CRAS, meaning literally “I shall be tomorrow.”

The Complete Texts of the “Great Antiphons” or “O Antiphons”

December 17. O WISDOM, you proceeded from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end, and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come and teach us the way of prudence.

December 18. O ADONAI [“Lord”], and Leader of the house of Israel, you who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush, and gave him the law on Sinai: come to redeem us with your outstretched arm.

December 19. O ROOT OF JESSE, you who stand as the symbol of the people, before you kings shall keep their mouths shut, and the nations shall make their appeals to you: come to deliver us and do not delay now.

December 20. O KEY OF DAVID, and Scepter of the house of Israel, you open and no man closes it, you close and no one opens it: come and lead out from prison the captive who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.

December 21. O RISING SUN, Splendor of eternal light and Sun of Justice: come and shine on those who are in darkness and in the shadow of death.

December 22. O KING OF NATIONS, the One whom they desire; O Cornerstone, you unite them: come and save man whom you formed out of clay.

December 23. O EMMANUEL [“God-with-Us”], our King and Lawgiver, Hope and Savior of the Nations: come to save us, O Lord our God.

December 16, 2007

The Third Sunday of Advent

The greatest man ever born of woman tells us how to prepare to receive Christ.

A homily.
Click HERE for it.