Fr. Kevin’s Column 5/2/2021

Dear friends of God,

This weekend we share communion with some of our young ones who are receiving Eucharist for the first time. There is something special about this moment and I am sure that many of us can picture our First Communion whether we were in second grade or it occurred later in our lives. I can picture myself in a First Communion picture clutching a rosary and looking almost angelic. There is something particularly beautiful about those innocent moments. It is a reminder of how God sees us with divine eyes of compassion. God always recognizes our original innocence. May these children remember this day fondly as their First Eucharist among many in their lives. May God strengthen them in Word and in Sacrament to share the divine life given to them for the life of the world.

 

I am more and more convinced that we as Church need to be more proactive in teaching prayer to members of our community. God has given us many ways to be in relationship with him. The difficulty is that prayer might seem inaccessible to us or we might not even know where to start. I know in my own life how I struggled with prayer until I found meditation in our Christian tradition. For me, that has brought life to every part of my life including my own public and private prayer. Meditation has shown the Spirit of God to me in my life and in my world.

 

As Christians, Scripture and the Mass need to be at the center of our lives of faith. Coming to celebrate Mass and receive the Eucharist, like our children this weekend, reminds us of who we are and also what are capable of being as God’s children. Scripture shows us how God continues to speak with us through his Word. In our faith, there are a number of ways of praying with scripture. One that can be particularly fruitful and is quite easy to “do” comes from St. Ignatius of Loyola. Jesuit retreat centers around the world teach this process to those who seek spiritual counsel. I want to share this experience with you as it is found in the book Finding God in All Things: A Marquette Prayer Book.

 

Here is a way of engaging in this prayer form which is relaxing and rather easy.

 

  1. Select a passage from one of the Gospels in which Jesus is interacting with
  1. Recall what one is doing in engaging with the Word of God and what one desires from this encounter. God is present and because God is present one relies on

 

  1. Read the Gospel passage twice so that the story and the details of the story become

 

  1. Close one’s eyes and reconstruct the scene in one’s imagination. See what is going on and watch the men and women in the scene. What does Jesus look like? How do the others react to him? What are the people saying to one another? What emotions fill their words? Is Jesus touching someone? As one enters into the scene, sometimes there is the desire to be there. So a person can place oneself in the scene, perhaps as an observer, as one lining up for healing, or as one helping others to Jesus.

 

  1. Some people’s imaginations are very active so they construct a movie-like scenario with a Gospel passage. Others will enter the scene with verbal imagination, reflecting on the scene and mulling over the actions. Vividness is not a criteria for the effectiveness of this kind of prayer. Engagement is and the result is a more interior knowledge of Jesus.

 

  1. As one finishes this time of prayer, one should take a moment to speak person to person with Christ saying what comes from the

 

I would encourage all of us during Easter Season and honestly for the rest of our lives, to sit with God in Scripture and begin to understand the Kingdom that he is calling us to enter and to see how we can find God in all things. When we see God’s Presence we can more easily see who we are in God’s eyes.

 

Much love,
Fr. Kevin