(Extract from Diocese of Broken Bay web site)

In the recent Year of Mercy, Pope Francis encouraged us to reflect on the ‘gaze’ of God, the experience of an awareness of being in the presence of a loving God who looks at us tenderly and with mercy. There is something of this when we read Scripture where we find ourselves engaged in a conversation with God. God speaks through his word and seeks to encounter us, and we respond in our prayer and action. Gazing is not hurried; it is not a glance. Gazing implies engagement and attention.

In Week 3 of Lent, we read from John’s Gospel where Jesus meets a Samaritan Woman. Jesus takes time, he gets involved in her life, and looks past her brokenness to see her for who she might become, not who she is now. The gaze of Jesus is transforming for her – she gains a new enthusiasm and finds a reservoir of excitement for life that she didn’t have before. In Week 4, the blind man meets Jesus and a whole new world of sight opens up to him; in Week 5 through meeting Jesus, Lazarus is unbound and set free to a life that in fact, lasts forever.

The lectio divina process helps us to slow down and to allow Christ to meet us where we are at. Rather than the Scriptures becoming words that simply flow in and out of our heads, we are invited to contemplate them. We would never rush reading a love letter! We would savour the words, and the presence of the writer would be close to us. In a similar way, when we read Scripture, we are reading the words of a loving God.

The Diocese of Broken Bay Lenten lectio divina resource is offered to encourage reflection on the Scripture texts this Lent. We are very grateful for the contribution of a number of Australian Bishops who have generously shared with us the fruit of their own lectio divina reflection. Their reflections have been recorded and can be viewed at www.dbb.org.au In addition, a booklet is available to parishes of the Diocese with these printed reflections as well as guided questions. The booklet can also be accessed online in PDF format.

Let’s have the courage to accept this invitation to meet Jesus in the words of Scripture, to enter the conversation in prayer, and to allow our prayer to bear fruit in our life in whatever way the Holy Spirit guides us.