Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Panel Discussion on Prayer

Last night my "cloistered brothers" and I held a panel discussion on prayer.  There were three men on the panel.  Russ spoke about meditation.  He is a revert from Buddhism (born Catholic, went to Buddhism and then back to Catholicism).  Gerry talked about the rosary.  He was a nominal Catholic.  He said that he attended Our Lady of Assumption Church and didn't know what Assumption meant.  He also said he was there when the Mass changed from Latin to English and he didn't notice the difference (shows how much he was paying attention). Then he went to Medjugorje and it was like a Saul to Paul experience. Lastly, there was Peter.  Pete is a Lay Dominican who practices Lectio Divina, every day.  Lection Divina consists of taking an excerpt from a reading (Lectio) and reading and meditating upon it (Meditatio).  Then this meditation will move you to pray to God (Oratio).  Finally, you want this experience to be with you throughout the day, so you pick out something short to bring the experience to mind (Contemplatio).  Since Pete is a Lay Dominican, he follows their way of Lectio Divina, which means they add one more step--Studium.  The Studium is reading the Lectio with a commentary to help you understand the reading more fully.  Pete does: Lectio, Studium, Meditatio, Oratio, Contemplatio.

There was suppose to be one more panel member.  He was supposed to talk about music; he was sick and unable to participate.

Each man spoke a few minutes about why this type of prayer was their favorite.  Then I asked for questions from the audience.  Since I expected no response, until the congregation warmed up, I had planted a few questions to be asked.  It worked.  Some of the questions:

  • Are distractions a problem?
  • How did you get interested in this type of prayer?
  • What do you pray after receiving the Eucharist?
  • What moves you to pray?
  • Do you experience God?
Answering the questions carried the session.  I wasn't sure how the whole discussion went over.  It seems to have been a hit.  Afterwards, people came up to me and asked advice on how to pray.  Me?  I felt like such a hypocrite telling people how to pray better because I probably am the worst at praying.  Prayer often is a session of distraction.  My monkey brain won't focus.

What gave me encouragement, however, was the timing.  It was so coincidental that the readings and homily tied so conveniently into our panel discussion, that it had to be Godincidental.  The first reading was about persistent in our prayers.  Genesis 18: 20-32--Abraham asks God to not destroy Sodom if there are ten good people there.  The Gospel was Luke 11: 1-13 where Jesus teaches his disciples the Our Father. Plus, Father Chris talked about prayer in his homily.  

So, the Holy Spirit had my back.  

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