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Seven Devotional – Introduction

     Seven short sayings. No one would really even think twice about them in normal situations. But this wasn’t a normal situation. And this wasn’t a normal man. These were spoken by Jesus…on the cross…while he was dying. In these words, we see his humanity and his divinity. We see physical pain, abandonment, and the reminder that God’s ways are not our ways.

     Jesus uses common words like “forgive, disciple, son, today, thirst” and that most crucial question “why?”. These words give us a glimpse of the mysterious, beautiful, and heart-wrenching love of God. His costly love for you and for me.

     In the time devoted to journaling we have the time and space to open ourselves to God’s love drawing on a wonderful aspect of our human make up — writing. In journaling we have the opportunity to share our true selves without reservation. As we do so, we experience the freedom of being accepted and loved “right where we are” with the promise of transformation or discernment or strength to meet the challenge we have # articulated.
     One of the most helpful characteristics of the journal is the record it provides of our spiritual questions and realizations over time. Reviewing them, we may start to recognize larger patterns — the landscape of our pilgrimage of faith. We will begin to gain insight on how and where we have grown and still struggle. We will also begin to see how we most deeply experience God’s love in our life and draw on that insight to experience His love more and more.
     Lectio Divina is a way of studying and praying the Scriptures so that the Word of God may penetrate the heart and lead to acquiring God’s perspective and love for the world. Through Lectio Divina, a person gradually lets go of their own agenda and becomes open to what God is communicating to them. Developed in the 12th century by Guigo, a Carthusian monk, Lectio Divina, a Latin term meaning “divine reading,” consists of four steps.
     The first stage islectio (reading). One reads a passage in the Word of God in an unhurried manner several times to become familiar with it. Any text of Scripture may be used, but it should not be too long. (Bible reading plans with a daily set of passages for a year, while worthwhile in themselves, work against this approach.)
     In the second stage, meditatio (reflection), one ponders the text and thinks about how to apply it to one’s life.
     The third stage, oratio (response), involves responding to the Holy Spirit, inspired by one’s reflection on God’s Word. Here one speaks to God from the heart — acknowledging woundedness, asking for forgiveness, giving thanks, praising God, rejoicing, and so on.
     During the final stage, contemplatio (rest), one rests in silence and solitude. It means listening to God by opening one’s heart and soul, and letting go of one’s own ideas, plans, and meditations.

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