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April 2018


A Contemplative Exercise for April 2018

 

The following is a possible framework for the Witnessing of the Word. It can be personalised, or altered: its purpose is to serve as an example of how this Saying might be used primarily in the context of a Prayer Group, but it may be used by individuals if so wished. It is not intended to be definitive.

 

In the context of a group: the periods of silence should be appropriate for your group - probably not less than 5 minutes, or more than 15 minutes.

 

Saying for the month

 

All power in heaven and earth has been given to me”    Matthew 28.18 (J B Phillips)

 

 

To begin the exercise, first spend a short while in relaxation and preparing to be still; become aware of the sounds around you and put them aside; offer this time of prayer to God.

 

Say this introductory invitation to prayer, then keep a further minute or two of silence:

 

"Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest"   Matthew 11.28 

 

 

 

Introduction to the first silence - a preparation for listening with the mind:

 

    “All power in heaven and earth has been given to me”

   

Our Word for this month comes from the last verses of Matthew’s Gospel and gives us a very clear picture of the Evangelist’s ultimate message to his listeners, that Jesus really was, and indeed is, the Son of God! In effect, what he then shared with his followers was the ultimate power and authority, the very essence of God.

 

From John’s Gospel, we learn that Jesus, when speaking to his disciples, said ‘As you, Father, are in me and I in you, may they (his disciples and followers) be one in us’ (John 17.21) And so, we understand that by virtue of his death and resurrection, when Jesus had been drawn back into God and so been made one with and in Him, that this divine power and authority was gifted back to him, ie ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’

 

It was this power that later, Jesus shared with his disciples in the gift of the Holy Spirit to strengthen and encourage them in the great task they were given, to remain faithful themselves and to bring others to know Jesus in Word and in Baptism.

 

In the first period of silence we meditate on these words that ‘All power in heaven and earth has been given to Jesus’: that he is truly one with his Father, and through him, in the power of his Holy Spirit, we share in the divine life of God.

 

All power in heaven and earth has been given to me”    

 

 

A time is now kept for silence of the mind - between 5 and 15 minutes

 

The silence concludes with a short thanksgiving, and/or repeat the Saying:

 

 Father, we thank you for the gift of your Word.

 

 All power in heaven and earth has been given to me”    

 

 

 

Introduction to the second silence - a preparation for listening with the heart:

 

 All power in heaven and earth has been given to me”    

 

In the second time of silence we receive the Word in our hearts and hear it spoken to ourselves.

 

Jesus knew himself to be one with his Father, and that he shared in divine power and authority, but we also know that he didn’t intend to hold this divine power to himself but that he would share it with his disciples and friends who loved and followed him. In him, all would be one, if they followed his example to serve each other, lived as he commanded and were rooted and grounded in his love.

 

At Pentecost, the disciples were touched with the power of the Holy Spirit, sent by Jesus and they were able to go out into the crowds and speak about Jesus in a way that they wouldn’t have dreamt was possible.

 

We believe that we who come after, are similarly touched with the power of Jesus through the gift of the Holy Spirit. For some this may be at special times in our lives such as Baptism or Confirmation, or even in quiet, prayerful moments when our whole being is filled with a new vision and purpose.

 

Our task in prayer, is to open our heart to try to hear those words of invitation for ourselves, to be rooted and grounded in his life and love, and to allow ourselves to be equipped to go out into the world in Jesus name and draw others to follow him. As our word tells us, ‘All power in heaven and earth’ has been given to Jesus. What we do and say, speak and pray we do in his name and he will give us the strength and gifts we need!

 

 All power in heaven and earth has been given to me”    

 

A time is now kept for silence of the heart - between 5 and 15 minutes

 

 

Conclude the silence with a short thanksgiving and/or repeat the Saying:

 

 Father, we thank you that your Word is alive and within us.

 

 All power in heaven and earth has been given to me”    

 

 

 

Introduction to the time of intercession – we use our will to reflect God’s word outwards.

 

 All power in heaven and earth has been given to me”    

 

With this word in mind we can now bring the meaning alive not only for ourselves, but also most importantly for the lives of others, in our intercession.

Say the name of a person or a group of people, and after a short pause, repeat the saying. For example:

 

‘Bobby    ….  All power in heaven and earth has been given to me”    

 

Conclude the time of intercession with words of thanksgiving: 

Father, we thank you that your Word has gone out through us

to those for whom we pray.

 

 

Use the Fellowship Prayer or another closing prayer to conclude your time of contemplative prayer.

 

Loving Heavenly Father, we thank you for all your unsearchable riches which pour forth from you as light from the sun, in boundless profusion and generosity, whether received, ignored or rejected. And now we offer to you, in so far as we are able, as an emptiness to be filled with your divine fullness, ourselves, our souls and bodies; all that we are, all that we have and all that we do. Amen

 

 You may wish to say the Grace together before departing.  

 

This month's exercise was contributed by JH