The focus of this first week is to look at the practice of prayer, its importance as part of our life of faith, and the role of prayer in being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Part of the presentation will be about the universal call to prayer as stated in the Catechism, Mary and Jesus as models of prayer, and the perfect prayer as taught by Jesus. Also, part of the presentation will be devoted to distractions in prayer and how to handle them.
Week 2: Prayer and Eucharistic Devotion
This week we will focus on the Eucharist and Eucharistic adoration. Since we will be approaching Pentecost and the Feast of Corpus Christi in the Sundays after this session it is important to have a sense of how great a gift we have in the Body and Blood of Christ given to us by our Lord. The presentation will include a discussion of the Eucharist at Mass and also prayer with the Eucharist in private devotion through Adoration. Hopefully this will enhance understanding and celebration at Mass as well as to underscore what we will be celebrating on the major feast of Corpus Christi.
Week 3: Lectio Divina
This week we will explore Lectio Divina, which is the prayer often associated with the Benedictines and Carmelites. The practice of Lectio Divina dates back to the 5th century and the earliest of monastic communities. It is still used in communal prayer as well as private prayer. We will discuss the practice of praying the Divine Office, of which Morning Prayer (Lauds) and Evening Prayer (Vespers) are prayed daily by many people. We will look at the contribution of St. Benedict and the famous Carmelite reformers, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. Included will be some prayer experiences of both the Divine Office and Lectio Divina. Come and learn about this prayer, and also pray with us.
Week 4: Franciscan and Dominican Prayer
We will explore the traditions of the Franciscans and Dominicans and the way of prayer that are associated with each. While St. Francis and St. Dominic had different approaches to the life of prayer, each one taught that all that we do is based on the life of Jesus in the Gospels; discipleship comes from imitating Christ. We will also have an experience of prayer as part of the evening. Come and learn about prayer in these traditions, and also pray with us.
Week 5: Ignatian Prayer
We will be focusing on the style of prayer which was taught by St. Ignatius of Loyola and utilized in his Spiritual Exercises. Much of this style of prayer focuses on using Scripture, but also employing the imagination and memory. St. Ignatius truly understood human nature, having grown in personal experience and knowledge during his lifetime. This style is very practical, yet very open to the stirrings and movements of the Holy Spirit. The goal is to learn discernment and begin to find God in all things. Come join us as we explore this style of prayer.