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Lectio Divina in the Novitiate

lectiodivina

Fr. Krzysztof Wons SDS – Director of the Spiritual Centre, the leader and the main speaker for seminars regarding Spirituality and Lectio Divina, has lead the sessions from 24-26 of January 2014, in Salvatorian Spiritual Centre in Krakow. That was 17th (starting from 1997) such a meeting organised by Salvatorians in Krakow. The sessions were associated with the Bible and more precisely covered a wide topic of “How to live and follow God’s word in our everyday lives?”. 

The conferences were intended for people who wished to further develop and deepen their practice of personal prayer using the Bible – The Word of God. Altogether there were over 180 people and each person was introduced with method helping their daily prayer using Bible. The attendants received for a whole year a variety of exercises suitable for their personal spiritual work in the light of God’s Word.  Fr. Krzysztof Wons SDS lead six outstanding conferences and other assisting Salvatorian priests made Eucharist, prayer/meditation in front of the Blessed Sacrament, Reconciliation, and conversations with Spiritual Directors available for people attending the Reflection days.

The two days were spent in an absolute silence where no one was really allowed to talk. At the beginning of the conferences prepared by Fr. Krzysztof he asserted that “We need to be able to listen - and this is one of many talents that we have obtained from God. For those who did not use that talent too much in their lives before, this time during reflection days will be a perfect opportunity to calm and quiet down a bit. The success of the sessions will depend on my attitude toward them, how well I will listen to words directed to me and how well I will reflect upon the words I have heard. The peaceful and quiet environment that we create here will help us to focus, listen and to pray better.” Prayer is the most important aspect, it is a physical way from our brains into our hearts, but at the same time it is the longest and hardest way to complete. “We live in an era where people’s heads grow bigger but hearts get smaller, this is because we try to solve, explain and understand everything with our brains and we tend to forget about our hearts”.

Many people such as scientists try to solve a big mystery that God is, using their human brains and rational (based on reason) thinking. We need to ‘think’ more with our hearts, Bible says that God directs His words to our hearts so we need to open them in order to hear something. God is able to soak into our hearts if we let Him, but this is only possible through prayer. Prayer should be always accompanied with an absolute silence, then the words coming from God can go through into our hearts.” When we step into the sphere of silence, our hearing gets better.”One of the ways to achieve such silence is to find a “desert” or “wilderness”  where we can isolate ourselves from things that distract us and make it impossible to hear God.

Fr. Krzysztof Wons SDS mentioned that sometimes for people that work a lot and their lives are intense, it is hard for them to suddenly achieve the silence. He compared it to a breaking car – “The length of breaking depends on how fast I drive”. So for someone who’s life is more busy and occupied it may be harder to slow, and calm down and  to achieve silence.  God is searching for me, he wants to keep in touch and constantly tries to remain in contact with me. He knows and ‘hears’ my life. God talks to me everyday - that means constantly. There is someone who without a rest, without the smallest pause talks to me. Do I believe in this? Sometimes we might encounter some obstacles standing in our way to believe in the Lord. We could find these sad days, depressing moments, dark spots in our lives, and we thought that God wasn’t there. We asked Him: “Where were You?”.  We should believe in God, that he takes care of me, shows that I am important to Him and believe that he constantly talks to me – because if He did not then I would not be alive, I would basically not exist. If God stopped talking to us even for a second, then we would not be alive anymore – we would die. We cannot think that the Lord created world and has left us alone, and is just a spectator, a bystander, onlooker, who watches us from the distance. God by His mighty words continually creates (Creatio Continua) and breathes life into us and everything that lives and exists. Some people do not believe because they do not hear God, and that is because their lives are a big chaos. Also we are often hurt, marginalised, left alone – and tend to blame God for it. Unfortunately we are hurt by people – by sinners , not by God, because God always unconditionally loves us and wants what is best for us. Our Lord always talks to us with the same constant love, but it is our fault that we do not hear it.

Pope Francis I, likes to emphasize that God talks to us, always in the same manner – with constant love, and this love is independent  from me and independent from how I imagine and picture God (Angry, not forgiving, selfish etc). Now lets have a look at another point mentioned by Fr. Krzysztof Wons SDS, which is an example of the Gospel read in our churches during the Liturgy of the Word by a priest or a deacon. No matter what section of the Gospel would be read on a day, there is always one truth about it – not two, not three, but just one truth, however each person that carefully listened to the Gospel has their own reflection and interpretation of it. Each faithful would think to themselves: ‘Hey, I feel like this Gospel was somehow directed to myself’ and such person could be deeply touched in their hearts by the Words of God that they have just heard. It is so because even though there is milliards of us, God chooses to have a unique and personal relationship with each of us. If I cannot meet with God then I do not have a personal relationship with Him, and it is so  when I do not read the Holy Bible or pray to the Lord. Luke in his passage[Lk 4; 16-30] describes how Jesus is rejected at Nazareth.  It occurs after He has read the scriptures at the synagogue, and said to people the words that were uncomfortable for them. The people then were filled with anger and dragged out Jesus out of the town. The story from two thousand years ago repeats daily in our lives. People throw Jesus out of the synagogue just like we do it today with His words. We hear them but we don’t want them to settle in our hearts and want to immediately deny and throw them out. That is because these words are demanding, provoking and hard to accept. The Bible is like a ‘living organism’ where God is always young, and His word creates and changes world constantly. When we read the Bible we become beautiful. Maybe not so much on the outside but in the inside. That could be easily compared to the story in Genesis where Lord creates the Earth, and decorates it with land, sky, waters, and animal life. Moreover God creates the Garden of Eden and places human beings there.  Just like God decorates the Earth and makes it beautiful (He continually does it – Creatio Continua), we also make the inside of us beautiful by reading the Bible – ‘the living organism’.

Fr. Krzysztof also mentions that ‘To read it (The Bible) you firstly need to open it!’ When I open the Holy Book God reminds me that He is opened to us, but also reminds us to be opened to Him. His Words full of love will not enter our hearts until we let them in. Lastly among other significant subjects that Fr. Krzysztof Wons SDS discussed, there was one good comparison. The passages we have read in the Bible were compared to a seed planted by a tree grower. It does not matter if a tree grower sleeps or not, the seed will still grow. Meaning that if we read a section in the Holy Book (for example before going to bed) even if we do not really understand what we have just read, it will still grow while we sleep and later give a fruit in our hearts just like a seed we have mentioned before. However the tree grower needs to ‘water’ the seed so it does not die – we should read the Bible sections over and over again so we can have even deeper understanding of the text. We can then absorb from it some good Christian morals, put them into practice and live them.

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