Divine Connection: Reading

Divine Connection is for bone-weary BurbMoms who need to recollect themselves and reconnect with the Divine.

This weeks encouragement is to practice the spiritual discipline of reading.reading-feature

Hey, remember those old Life cereal commercials that would implore little Mikey to “try it, you’ll like it”? Well there are many methods of engaging the spiritual discipline of reading but  there is an ancient method of reading scripture that would ask you to do the same: Try it.  This method is called Franciscan reading. It is based on the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi who valued the qualities of action, spontaneity, love, praise, beauty, and delight in creation. You probably have seen many little garden statues of St. Francis as bird feeders. He was known for being in tune with nature and God’s creation.   His method of reading scripture is about bringing the word of scripture out into creation–into your life experience.

How it works:  Read a passage of scripture, typically the gospel narratives or psalms, and then ask what is known as the “Fivefold Question.”

  1. What does this passage say about God’s nature?
  2. What does it say about human nature?
  3. What does it say about how God relates to people?
  4. What does it suggest about how I might pray?
  5. What does it suggest about how I might act?

Many love the Franciscan method of reading scripture because it is about finding truth and application…it is about action.   People who employ a Franciscan spirituality don’t sit still in long times of prayer. They pray by doing. For example, you might read the story of the paralytic lowered through the roof before Jesus in Mark 2:4  or Luke 5:19. Then after asking the fivefold question you  arrive at the fifth question  to wonder which of your friends  has such a pressing need, and then ask God what  you can do to help meet that need…then  you get up and go do it.

Or here is another Franciscan prayer exercise you can try apart from the fivefold question: Go outside and look for two trees; one which resembles the kind of person you would like to be or your goal in life, another which expresses in some way the kind of person you see yourself to be now. Decide what you need to do in order to change from the way you  now are to the way you would like to be or the way  God would like you to be.

Try it, you’ll like it…and you just might make a Divine Connection.

Additional Resources:

  • Father’s Day is coming up. If you’d like to give the gift of a good book that is a basic introduction to the spiritual disciplines try A Man’s Guide to the Spiritual Disciplines: 12 Habits to Strengthen Your Walk with Christ by Patrick Morley.
  • For an online daily reading that provides a generous helping of psalms, old testament and new testament readings try www.missionstclare.com.

God’s Peace,

Leslie Stewart


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