Wellspring of Scripture


Year B: 12th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gospel: Mark 4: 35-41

Today’s Gospel reading is often suggested to people who are following a Week of Guided Prayer - or as a guided reflection on retreats. The reason is obvious. In each of us there are fears that are hard if not impossible to quell. This is a Gospel story which we can enter and relate to the storm-conditions which prevail in our inner and outer lives.


Rather than an article, therefore, we offer two suggestions for using today’s Gospel in your prayer during the week.


The first is simply to read the Gospel slowly and reflectively - stopping where a word or phrase speaks to you. You may have read this passage many times, but perhaps this time, there will be a word - or feeling that you had not noticed before. If that happens, stay with it and ponder what it might mean for you at this time.


Having ready the Gospel passage, you may like to split it into smaller sections (e.g. a verse or two a day). Read the section in the morning and then try to call it to mind at various times in the day... especially those times when it seems particularly relevant!


Alternatively, select a phrase which seems important to you - “Be calm!” for example - and try to use that as a mantras - again, especially when you feel particular need of it.


The “technical term” for using Scripture in this way is Lectio Divina - sacred reading - beloved of monastic orders.


Another way of using Scripture is imaginative contemplation - often referred to as “Ignatian” after St Ignatius of Loyola who developed the art into a series of Spiritual Exercises.


In this, begin by being quiet and relaxed - read through the passage to refresh your memory and then begin to create the scene in your imagination in as much detail as you can. Allow the events to unfold - and, at the point which seems right for you, allow yourself to enter the story. Watch - listen - smell - touch as much as you can. And then note how Jesus behaves - the other disciples - and note your own feelings. In your imagination, give Jesus permission to speak to you - what does He say - or do?


What does it mean for me?


It is a good idea to spend time reflecting back on such prayer times and exploring what came up during them :-

What did it mean for you?

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