• Wartakanlah Injil kepada segala makhluk.
    Mrk 16:15

  • 你们往普天下去, 向一切受造物宣传福音
    谷 16:15

  • Everything is possible by the power of the Holy Spirit’s Grace.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • Segala sesuatu menjadi mungkin dalam kekuatan karunia Roh Kudus.
    St. Arnold Janssen

  • 我当传教士不是为主牺牲,而是上主给我的最大恩赐

  • Với sức mạnh Ân Huệ của Chúa Thánh Thần, Mọi việc đều có thể được.
    St Arnoldus Janssen

  • Preach the Gospel to the whole creation./Anh em hãy đi khắp tứ phương thiên hạ, loan báo Tin Mừng cho mọi loài thọ tạo
    Mk 16:15

  • There are many different gifts, but it is always the same Spirit.
    1 Cor 12:4

  • And the Word became flesh and lived among us.
    Jn 1:14

  • Let the word of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you.
    Col 3:16

  • To proclaim the Good News is the first and greatest act of love of neighbour.
    St Arnold Janssen

  • 传扬天国福音是第一且最大的爱近人行动

  • Có nhiều đặc sủng khác nhau, nhưng chỉ có một Thần Khí/
    1 Cor. 14:4

  • 圣言成了血肉,寄居在我们中间
    若 1:14

  • Ada rupa-rupa karunia, tetapi Roh satu
    1 Kor 12:4

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Monday, 29 June 2020 10:24

Lectio Divina groups inspire deeper understanding


Bible reading group 450 ShutterstockThe Janssen Spirituality Centre in Victoria is living out its mission of supporting both Christian and interfaith spirituality, by hosting a range of groups who meet to share holy reading through Lectio Divina.

Lectio Divina is a meditative reading of scripture or other holy reading, which, in the Western tradition has its roots reaching way back into early monasticism.

Director of the Janssen Spirituality Centre (JSC), Fr Thien Nguyen SVD, says the current Lectio Divina group at the Centre was initiated by Frances and Vincent Cassidy, a committed lay couple, way back in 2011.

“It was initiated by Frances Cassidy as part of her studies in Christian Meditation at Australian Catholic University,” Fr Thien says.

“The initial six week project proved so popular, a decision was made to offer it on a permanent basis. Vincent Cassidy, Frances’ husband, joined her in leading Lectio. The group meets every Monday at JSC at 10am. Both Frances and Vincent are still involved in organising and presenting the weekly session.”

Frances says the group has an average attendance of 12 to 15 participants, although during the current COVID-19 lockdown period, there is a weekly participation of 16 or 17 (meeting online).

“At present, all of our participants come from a Christian background, but from different traditions within that religion,” she says.

“Three of our members are ordained ministers from the Anglican and Church of Christ tradition. Another four or five have very strong connections to the Inter Faith Movement. Each week we have  two or three members from the Janssen Community in attendance  – other duties permitting. There are at least two sisters from catholic religious orders.”

Vincent says the process the group follows is very much in the western tradition of Lectio Divina, normally taking the gospel text from the upcoming Sunday Liturgy.

“We read this passage three times, slowly and carefully. Each reading is followed by a period of silence for a few minutes, covering the stages of Prayer, Meditation, Contemplation and Operation as devised in the 11th Century by a Carthusian Monk,” he says.

“Each participant has a copy of the text as well as some appropriate verses from the Psalms or Scripture. Each member has the opportunity to play an active role either by sharing their chosen word from the text, or by reading aloud part of the text and by sharing any insight at the appropriate time.

“Speaking personally, our involvement in Lectio has led us to an intensification and fruition of our prayer and meditation lives. We have also experienced a wider understanding and appreciation of the different traditions within Christianity.

“We are aware that Lectio has provided our participants with the opportunity to speak out about their spirituality, about their reactions to the scriptural passages – all done in a safe and non-judgemental atmosphere.  The fact that we normally use the gospel from the following Sunday, and continually reflect on it during the week, seems to give each of us a greater appreciation of the Word when we celebrate it on the Sunday.”

Frances and Vincent say there has been another benefit to their Lectio gatherings.

“Lectio is not Scripture Study,” they say. “However, we realised through Lectio that we had a need to do some scripture study – so some of the Lectio group formed a little Scripture group and we meet every second week.  Currently, we have just embarked on a study of the Gospel of Mark. A fruit that has been plucked from our prayerful gatherings of Lectio Divina.”

Fr Thien says that Lectio has also found its way into interfaith meetings that take place at the JSC.

“We have two other groups, a Satsang (Hindu) Prayer Group and a Qur’an (Muslim) Prayer Group, which take the format of the Lectio for their meditation and reflection,” he says.

“Each group includes half a dozen participants and meets every fortnight. Most participants come from a Christian background. Since we started our meeting on Zoom, we have had some Muslims joining our sessions.”

The Janssen Spirituality Centre, under the patronage of St Arnold Janssen SVD, was opened in January 2008 as Melbourne's unique venue dedicated to the promotion of spirituality, inter-religious and cross-cultural relations.  It is dedicated to mutual understanding and enrichment, respect and collaboration between followers of various cultures and faith traditions.

IMAGE: Shutterstock.