Sign of the Cross
We invoke God, in whose name we act and to whom we are about to open ourselves.
In the name of the Father, ✠ and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Invocation of the Holy Spirit
We invoke the Holy Spirit, who will speak to us and listen in us. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit, and they shall be created.
And you shall renew the face of the earth.
Act of Contrition
By acknowledging our sinfulness and admitting that by ourselves we can do nothing that is not flawed, we ask God to take the initiative in this encounter.
Have mercy on us, O Lord:
For we have sinned against you.
Show us, O Lord, your mercy:
And grant us your salvation.
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.
The Gospel should be read slowly, meditatively, with pauses between sentences or whenever the sense requires it. The aim is not to tell the text to God, who knows it already, but to let God tell it to us. For this, there have to be silences so that what God is telling us can be heard.
When a group is doing Lectio Divina, it is usually best to take turns in reading the words of the Gospel, since for many people speaking will bring the words to mind better than hearing does. But do not let this become a distraction in itself: have a clear order known in advance, and a simple signal for handing over the baton from one person to the next.
The first reading is for the purpose of hearing a word or passage that touches the heart. When the word or phrase is found, each member takes it in, gently recites it, and reflect on it during the silence that follows. After the silence, each person shares which word or phrase has touched his or her heart. There is no obligation to share an echo, and some members may take many meetings before sharing one, or may even never do so.
“I” and the “me” are important. To say “we” or “us” is to evade the encounter by softening the focus and hiding behind membership of a group. The meeting with Jesus is face to face, one to one.
The second reading is for the purpose of “hearing” or “seeing” Christ in the text. Each ponders the word that has touched the heart and asks where the word or phrase touches his or her life that day. Then, after the silence, each member of the group shares what he or she has “heard” or “seen.” An echo is what struck me – not “you” or “us”. It is not a mini-sermon or a carefully crafted uplifting thought. Echoes do not have echoes. The sharing of echoes and the listening to echoes are not a discussion aiming at a conclusion, but the opening of one heart to another.
The experience of sharing echoes brings the group closer together. Over time, its power grows.
The third and final reading is for the purpose of experiencing Christ “calling us forth” into doing or being. Members ask themselves what Christ in the text is calling them to do or to become today or this week. After the silence, each shares for the last time.
We prepare to return to the everyday world, carrying with us what we have received in our minds and our hearts today.
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
May the Lord bless us, and keep us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.