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An Ignatian Introduction to Prayer: Scriptural Reflections According to the Spiritual Exercises
     

An Ignatian Introduction to Prayer: Scriptural Reflections According to the Spiritual Exercises

by Timothy M., OMV Gallagher
 

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This is a book for those who desire to pray with Sacred Scripture. Following the spiritual itinerary of the Spiritual Exercises by Ignatius of Loyola, forty reflections offer a great resource for those beginning to pray with Scripture. They provide accompaniment in the first, tentative steps of such blessed prayer. For those who already practice prayer with

Overview


This is a book for those who desire to pray with Sacred Scripture. Following the spiritual itinerary of the Spiritual Exercises by Ignatius of Loyola, forty reflections offer a great resource for those beginning to pray with Scripture. They provide accompaniment in the first, tentative steps of such blessed prayer. For those who already practice prayer with Scripture, and who seek new depth in that prayer, these emotionally rich reflections can provide an opportunity for such growth. They are also useful for spiritual directors, retreat directors, small groups in parishes, and in the home.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780824524876
Publisher:
Crossroad Publishing Company
Publication date:
03/25/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
96
Sales rank:
308,696
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

An Ignatian Introduction to Prayer

Scriptural Reflections According to the Spiritual Exercies


By Timothy M. Gallagher

The Crossroad Publishing Company

Copyright © 2007 Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-8245-2487-6



CHAPTER 1

BARTIMAEUS

Mark 10:46–52

"What do you want me to do for you?"

* * *

Scripture Reading

As I begin, I become aware of the Lord present to me, looking upon me with love, desirous of speaking to my heart ...

Prayerfully, I read Mark 10:46–52.


Meditation


I see the crowds, the road as it leaves the city, the blind beggar seated by the road ... I am there with him ... perhaps I take his place, and, now, I am seated there, like him, waiting ...

He seeks to come to Jesus out of his great need, and his hope that in Jesus he will find healing. But he is helpless to approach the Lord ... I sense my own need, my own hope, my own helplessness.

I watch as he pours out his need and his hope in the repeated cry: "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" His cry becomes the cry too of my heart: "Jesus ... have mercy on me!" I make this prayer to the Lord ...

Jesus hears this cry. He stops. He says to the crowd: "Call him." I hear them say to me: "Take heart; rise, he is calling you." I feel my heart begin to lift with newhope ...

I stand before Jesus. Our eyes meet ... I see his face, I hear his words, his question to my heart: "What do you want me to do for you?" Now Jesus and I are alone in the midst of the crowd. And I speak to him from my heart, unhurriedly. I dare to tell him all that I hope he will do for me ... all that I hope for from this time of prayer ...

I say to him: "Master, let me receive my sight." Help me to see! Help me see my way clearly in the doubts and fears that my heart feels; help me to overcome the obstacle that keeps me from the closeness I desire with you ...

And, with Bartimaeus, I experience Jesus' word of healing ... I sense the love that pours out from him and brings healing, brings new hope into my life ...

I follow him along the way ...


After the Prayer

* What word in this Scripture most spoke to my heart?

* What touched my heart in this time of prayer? What did my heart feel as I prayed?

* What did I sense the Lord saying to me?

CHAPTER 2

EVERY ONE WHO THIRSTS

Isaiah 55:1-13

"Come, buy wine and milk / without money and without price."

* * *

Scripture Reading

As I begin, I become aware of the Lord present to me, looking upon me with love, desirous of speaking to my heart ...

Prayerfully, I read Isaiah 55:1–13.


Meditation


"Every one who thirsts, / come to the waters ..." I hear the Lord speak these words to me. I tell the Lord of the thirsting of my heart: thirst for meaning, thirst for love, thirst for closeness with him, with others. I tell the Lord of the loneliness my heart experiences, of my sense of insufficiency ...

And I hear the Lord say now to me: If your heart thirsts, come to the waters. ... Come to the waters of the Spirit, the waters of grace ... the waters that alone can quench the deep thirsting of the human heart.

"Come, buy ... / without money and without price." I hear these words of pure invitation; there is no need to have "achieved" something spiritually before I can dare to approach. All that is necessary is to come and to receive God's gift.

"Why do you spend ... / your labor for that which does not satisfy?" Lord, there are so many answers to your question: because I am confused, because I am afraid, because the effort to possess what truly satisfies seems too hard. ... The Lord simply answers me: "Come ..."

"And I will make with you an everlasting covenant, / my steadfast, sure love ..." Lord, I open my heart to your everlasting covenant, your steadfast, sure, love ... a bond of belonging and a love that will never fail ...

"My thoughts are not your thoughts ..." "As the heavens are higher than the earth, / so are my ways higher than your ways." My thoughts see so little ... Your thoughts see so much more, your ways are beyond what I can grasp. Lord, I entrust myself to your thoughts and to your ways, to the mystery of your providence in my life.

The rain and the snow water and make fruitful the earth ..." So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; / it shall not return to me empty." I open my heart to the power of that word, even now, as I pray with this Scripture. ... Lord, fill my emptiness too with the nourishment of your word ...

Now my prayer becomes quiet, deep, receptive ... A silent gratitude wells up within me for the gift of your word that I meditate, Lord, and for its power to renew my life.


After the Prayer

* What word in this Scripture most spoke to my heart?

* What touched my heart in this time of prayer? What did my heart feel as I prayed?

* What did I sense the Lord saying to me?

CHAPTER 3

JESUS' WORDS OF INVITATION

Matthew 11:25–30

"Come to me, all you who labor ..."

* * *

Scripture Reading

As I begin, I become aware of the Lord present to me, looking upon me with love, desirous of speaking to my heart ...

Prayerfully, I read Matthew 11:25–30.


Meditation


I sense the thrill of gratitude in the heart of Jesus as he lifts up his heart to the Father whom he so loves, and by whom he knows himself so deeply loved ... that same Father who says to me, as to Jesus: You are my beloved son, my beloved daughter ...

Jesus thanks his Father that he has revealed the mysteries of the Kingdom not to the self-sufficient ... but to those who feel themselves helpless, dependent on God for everything, like a small infant ... I ask to be such ...

I ask Jesus, the Son who knows the Father, to reveal himself, to reveal the Father to me, in this time of prayer ... that he chooses to do this in my heart ...

Now he is close to me, speaking to my heart. I hear his invitation: "Come to me ..." I share with the Lord my own desire, now, in this time of prayer. Even as I sense my heartfelt longing to "come to him," to know that my heart is close to him ... I hear him say to me, with infinite love: I want you to come close, I invite you, I call you, "Come to me ..."

"You who labor and are heavily burdened ... I will give you rest." Lord, grant me the rest that my restless heart so seeks. I embrace this invitation. I come to the Lord bringing my burdens, my heart's laboring and weariness. I hear his promise of rest, heart's rest ...

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me ... for I am gentle and lowly of heart." Two words. Lord, you are gentle, you are lowly of heart. I ponder each word ... There is no more room for fear ...

"Learn from me." I ask the Lord for this "learning" in these times of prayer. ... This is the learning my heart most desires: personal learning, relational learning, learning of Jesus ..." And you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless, until they rest in you" (St. Augustine). I seek the Lord, I seek his rest ...


After the Prayer

* What word in this Scripture most spoke to my heart?

* What touched my heart in this time of prayer? What did my heart feel as I prayed

* What did I sense the Lord saying to me?

CHAPTER 4

JEREMIAH'S WORD OF HOPE

Jeremiah 29:11–14

"I know the plans I have for you."

* * *

Scripture Reading

As I begin, I become aware of the Lord present to me, looking upon me with love, desirous of speaking to my heart ...

Prayerfully, I read Jeremiah 29:11–14.


Meditation


I read the word of God, through the prophet Jeremiah, to his people in their time of exile.

Their hearts are heavy ... Their nation, their temple, all that was dear to them, has been destroyed, and they are reduced to a helpless group of exiles, far from their home. The present is dark; the future, too, seems without hope, and their exile continues ... My heart, too, knows such times ...

And in their hearts, in our hearts, is fear–fear that this has happened through our own fault, through our failure to love and serve the Lord as we were called to do ...

My heart too is afraid ... I too fear that I am not what I ought to be, that I fail the Lord ... Even in this time of prayer ... will I respond to the Lord?

The Lord speaks to them ... and the Lord speaks personally to my heart, here, in this moment of prayer.

"I know the plans I have for you ... plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope." I feel my anxieties about the future, about what lies ahead for me, about what will happen in my spiritual life, my prayer ...

I know that my desire to grow in love is real, but I feel so weak, so helpless ... and I am afraid. But now I hear this word of the Lord to me: "I know the plans I have for you ..." I hear these words deeply, I read them, I reread them ...

"You will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you." My heart lifts at this promise: "and I will hear you." Lord, now, today, I call upon you, I come to you, I pray to you ...

"You will seek me and find me." I speak to the Lord of my greatest desire: I seek you ... My heart opens as I hear your promise to me: and you will find me ...

"I will restore your fortunes ..." A new hope ... that my heart can truly change, can truly heal, can truly grow in love: "I will restore ..."

My heart lifts up as I hear the Lord speak these words personally to me ... offering me new hope, new trust, as I live my calling in his service, as I look to what lies ahead ...

I linger over these words, I read them, I hear the Lord speak to me. My heart responds.


After the Prayer

* What word in this Scripture most spoke to my heart?

* What touched my heart in this time of prayer? What did my heart feel as I prayed?

* What did I sense the Lord saying to me?

CHAPTER 5

FEAR NOT

Isaiah 43:1–7

"You are precious in my eyes, / and honored, and I love you"

* * *

Scripture Reading

As I begin, I become aware of the Lord present to me, looking upon me with love, desirous of speaking to my heart ...

Prayerfully, I read Isaiah 43:1–7.


Meditation


God speaks to the heart of the exiled people ... and to me.

I sense the Lord with me, speaking these words to me. I read them slowly, tasting them, allowing their meaning to enter into my soul ... I stay with the words that most speak to me, without hurry ...

"Thus says the Lord, he who created you ... he who formed you ..." With the people of Israel, I again become aware of God at the origin of my being, of my belonging to his people. I sense the mystery of an eternal love that surrounds my whole being, my beginning, my life ...

"Fear not": the word so often repeated by Jesus. I speak to the Lord of the fears in my heart: of my inadequacy, my failures, my slowness to respond ... Again and again I hear his word: "Fear not."

"For I have redeemed you." I am your protector, I am at your side, I am with you; you are not alone. My power and my love accompany you ... I hear the Lord speak his words to me ...

"I have called you by name, you are mine." I think now of my own name. I hear the Lord pronounce my name, giving me my identity, giving me life, making me his own, telling me that I am not alone ... In the silent depth of my heart, I hear the Lord pronounce my name ... again, again ... I respond ...

"When you pass through the waters I will be with you; / and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; / when you walk through fire, you shall not be burned": the symbol of the most dangerous situations, situations which threaten life itself ... and these will be powerless to harm me. I will keep you unharmed even in the most difficult situations in life ... A new trust dawns in my heart ...

"Because you are precious in my eyes, / and honored, and I love you." Three words. With deep attention I ponder each: you are precious in my eyes; you are honored in my eyes; I love you. I dare to hear the Lord say these words to his people Israel ... and to me ...

Now my heart replies to the Lord who speaks his love to me ...


After the Prayer

* What word in this Scripture most spoke to my heart?

* What touched my heart in this time of prayer? What did my heart feel as I prayed?

* What did I sense the Lord saying to me?

CHAPTER 6

GOD AT THE ORIGIN OF MY BEING

Psalm 139:1–18

"You knit me in my mother's womb."

* * *

Scripture Reading

As I begin, I become aware of the Lord present to me, looking upon me with love, desirous of speaking to my heart ...

Prayerfully, I read Psalm 139:1–18.


Meditation


This psalm is a prayer, words spoken from the human heart to God. I make these words my own. I say them to the God who is present to me now ...

A psalm of wonder, of marveling at the closeness of God to me: "You have searched me and known me!" My heart ponders this marvel, that the infinite and eternal God knows me, that I am important to him ...

"You know when I sit and stand; / you understand my thoughts. ... Even before a word is on my tongue, / Lord, you know it all." Again this sense of marvel, that God is so intimately close to me, always, faithfully, sharing with me the hidden depths of my heart, my hopes, my struggles, my thoughts ... I invite him into my heart ...

"Behind and before you encircle me / and rest your hand upon me ..." His loving and protecting hand is always with me ... No matter where I am, "your hand will guide me, / your right hand holds me fast." You are faithfully with me, at all times, in all the places of my life ...

A psalm of wonder, of marveling now at God's eternal love, calling me into being: "You knit me in my mother's womb." I sense the Love that lies at the origin of my being, that gave me life, that gives me life each day, that tells me that I am valued and loved ...

My heart speaks now to the Lord: "I praise you ... / wonderful are your works." Gratitude awakens in my heart. My heart sings its wonder, its praise, to my God ...

"How precious to me are your designs, O God." Here, in my prayer, I ponder the loving designs of God. They become precious to me anew; they give me hope, a sense of the meaning of my life.

I read, I reread, the words of this Psalm, allowing God to show me their meaning ...

And now my heart replies to the Lord ...


After the Prayer

* What word in this Scripture most spoke to my heart?

* What touched my heart in this time of prayer? What did my heart feel as I prayed?

* What did I sense the Lord saying to me?

CHAPTER 7

CALLED FROM BEFORE MY BIRTH

Jeremiah 1:4–19

"Before you were born I consecrated you."

* * *

Scripture Reading

As I begin, I become aware of the Lord present to me, looking upon me with love, desirous of speaking to my heart ...

Prayerfully, I read Jeremiah 1:4–19.


Meditation


God speaks to Jeremiah's heart, and reveals to him the eternal love and plan that gave him life, and gives meaning to his life. Now he speaks to me ... and shares this same message ...

I listen to this grace-filled dialogue between God and Jeremiah. I hear God say these same words to me: "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, / ... I consecrated you; / ... I appointed you." My spiritual gaze lifts to the eternal Triune God ... within whose eternity I was known, loved, chosen, given a mission, a purpose in life ... Now my heart speaks to my God ...

His words to Jeremiah, to me, renew in me a sense of the origin of my being, of the meaning of my life, of the call to say "yes" to God's plan for my life. My hearts speaks its "yes" to this love, to this plan ...

Jeremiah feels too weak to respond to the Lord's call: "I do not know how to speak ... I am only a youth ..." My heart too says: I do not know how, I am capable of so little, so much less than I sense you ask of me ...

The Lord simply replies: "Do not say, 'I am only a youth.' ... Be not afraid ... for I am with you to deliver you." I hear him speak these words to me ... Do not focus on your lack of strength, on your lack of human resources. "Be not afraid." "I am with you." New hope, new desire, arises in my heart ...

"I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls ... For I am with you, says the Lord, to deliver you." Three images of God's faithful, protecting love, as I live my call ... Each image speaks to me ..." I am with you ..."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from An Ignatian Introduction to Prayer by Timothy M. Gallagher. Copyright © 2007 Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V.. Excerpted by permission of The Crossroad Publishing Company.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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