August 4, 2013

Sharing My Experience Of Lectio Divina

 This past Spring I served as a facilitator at my parish during our "Oremus" prayer retreat. Local priest Fr. Mark Toups developed this series and I can tell you it was a wonderful experience.

Primarily we practiced the art of "lectio divina" as recommended by then Pope Benedict XVI for this "Year Of Faith." Lectio Divina (Latin for divine reading) is an ancient tradition of praying the Scriptures. It's a great form of contemplative prayer in which one rests in God's Presence, slowly reads and re-reads a Scripture verse and then meditates on it - talking to Him and finally - listening to God speak to your heart.

I had a great experience with lectio divina this morning while meditating on Psalm 23 and I wanted to give you just a brief sharing. In this particular experience I had a visual - similar to imaginative prayer but not quite the same. I saw beautiful sunshine and blue skies, and a vast green pasture - as long as I kept my eyes on the Lord. When I took my focus off Him and looked to the side I saw many dead trees and a dark, vast forest. It came to me to see a beautiful, white sheep wandering off the beautiful path and into the dead looking forest - away from HIM. I wondered - where would it go? How would it find it's way in that dead place? Why did the sheep even want to leave His glory? Why do WE? Yet this is exactly what I myself do when I take my eyes off of Him . . . I wander into the darkness.

I ended the prayer wanting to keep my focus on Christ always! I realize that in this daily spiritual battle the enemy is always near - prowling, reaching out to grab us so he can destroy our very souls. He and his minions attack on all sides - but I will "fear no evil" for He "is with me!" As long as I keep my eyes on the Lord and follow HIM - the adversary and his minions are powerless! It seems difficult and yet it's so simple! I - WE - must walk in Faith. Obedience isn't popular anymore - but that's what we must be - trusting Him for everything and listening to His voice. He always goes before us providing a way! All we have to do is follow.

Check this link out for more information on the "Oremus" prayer study program: Ascension Press - Oremus

August 2, 2013

Action/Adventure Movie Review: Pilgrims Progress

If you'd like a movie that can be enjoyed as a couple, with friends or as a family - this is your film - complete with monsters and action for the men!

"Pilgrim's Progress: A journey to Heaven" is adapted from the John Bunyan novel written in 1678. It is the timeless story of spiritual warfare . . . the progress of the Christian soul throughout this lifetime. It is as relevant (if not more so!) now as it was when it was written.

In this contemporary rendition complete with special effects we see the main character "Christian" fight demons as he makes his journey through the world and towards the heavenly gates. The narrow path ain't the easy one and Christian is led astray more than once - aren't we all familiar with this! The film gives visual evidence to our difficult but rewarding journey of Faith by showing actual battles, sword fights, etc with evil creatures/situations and even a giant troll (he looks like an evil "Shrek,") who imprisons & tortures Christian and a companion. I purchased this film from Amazon because netflix does not have it. 
Amazon Link: Pilgrims Progress DVD - SALE PRICE $10.54 FREE Shipping (Limited Time)  As you can see Amazon reviewers gave this movie 5 stars (based on nearly 150 reviews.)

Since there are some fight sequences with demons you may want to preview the film if you have small children. Great messages are heard/seen throughout the movie (based on Scripture.) But don't expect "Hollywood style" acting. Some of the acting is not as "developed" as theirs . . . but I will take these sincere performances over hedonistic Hollywood any day of the week! It's a really GOOD movie. I give it two thumbs up! Enjoy!

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