The God Who Speaks
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales designated 2020 as ‘The God Who Speaks: A Year of the Word’ to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Verbum Domini -Pope Benedict XVI’s Apostolic Exhortation on ‘The Word of the Lord’, and the 1600th anniversary of the death of St Jerome, who translated the Bible into Latin. Since 2020, we have been celebrating, living and sharing God’s Word through a range of events, activities and resources. The Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales has created a website that is dedicated to ‘The God Who Speaks – A Year of the Word.’ This can be found using this link;
We are invited to listen afresh to the Word of God as did Our Blessed Lady at the Annunication, to encounter anew the presence of that Word, and to proclaim it afresh in the Church and the world. ‘Scripture is at the centre of everything the Church does. The Word of God shapes our prayer and worship. The Bible shows us how to understand the world, how we are called to live and relate to each other’.
The primary aim of The God Who Speaks – A Year of the Word is:
‘Celebrating, Living and Sharing God’s Word’
Lectio Divina for schools : teach your pupils to pray with scripture
If we want our pupils to develop a deep, vibrant relationship with Christ, then we need to teach them to pray — and not just memorized prayers or spontaneous vocal prayer (as important as those are), but meditation and contemplation. It is in these ways of praying, the saints and mystics tell us, that we learn to listen to God…to hear the whispering of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, and to discern the will of the Father. ‘In prayer, more is accomplished by listening than by talking’, says St Francis de Sales. St Catherine of Siena advises that we must ‘exercise together mental and vocal prayer, for, even as the active and contemplative life is one, so are they’. The ancient prayer practice of lectio divina is a great way to teach pupils Christian meditation, and to lead them to the threshold of contemplative prayer. This prayer practice has the added benefit of introducing pupils to the power and beauty of the scriptures, in which God speaks plainly to our hearts through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
It was Guigo, a Carthusian monk, who first set out the four steps or movements of lectio divina. Here they are, with their Latin names in parenthesis:
- Reading (lectio)
In the first step, you choose a reading, and you read it several times, leaving room for the Holy Spirit to call your attention to a word, phrase, or line that God wants you to hear.
- Meditation (meditatio)
In the meditation step, you think about the word or words that the HolySpirit has called to your attention, holding them in your mind andconsidering them from different angles.
- Prayer (oratio)
In the prayer step, you respond to the sacred words in prayer, either silently or out loud or in writing.
- Contemplation (contemplatio)
In the contemplation step, you rest in God’s presence, quieting yourself and listening for God’s response to your prayer. As you’re introducing this method of prayer to pupils, explain to them that, unlike other types of writings (school textbooks, poetry, legal codes, mystery novels, and so on), the sacred scriptures are ‘inspired’ by God. Although the Bible was written down by human authors using their own words, the Holy Spirit ‘inspired’ those authors to write the scriptures in a way that would communicate what God wanted his people to know for their salvation.