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Priest: Lectio Divina sessions not for gossip

Priest: Lectio Divina sessions not for gossip

Fr. Fritz Francis Del Pilar discusses the do's and dont's in conducting Lectio Divina to lectors at the Sto. Niño Church in Tacloban City. (Photo: Eileen Ballesteros)

TACLOBAN City, Jan. 23, 2017 – A priest in the Archdiocese of Palo reminds the faithful that the regular Lectio Divina prayer and sharing sessions are not an avenue to talk about the life of other people.

The young Fr. Fritz Francis Del Pilar, a priest for about two years now, said that if the faithful happen to hear emotionally-charged sharings during the sessions, they should pray for the one sharing rather than gossip about him or her.

“As the Bible conveys, Jesus said, ‘Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am in the midst of them,’ so does He in your sessions,” added the priest, stressing the spiritual nature of the meetings.

Sacred reading

Giving a talk to a group of lectors in this city, Del Pilar noted that while Lectio Divina is about contemplating the Word of God contained in the Bible, God’s message is easier understood through the experiences of the faithful, making the sharing of personal experiences a necessary element of the sessions.

He noted: “No sharing is wrong because it [is your] experience with God.”

READ:  If you’re tempted to gossip, ‘bite your tongue,’ Pope Francis says 

A primer the Lectio Divina produced by the Commission on Spirituality through Sr. Evangelina Canag, FSP, says: “Lectio Divina (literally means sacred reading) was the prayerful Bible reading of the first Christians for the purpose of fostering their faith, their hope and their love.”

“We use the Bible during our sharing because we need to understand where God is in our experience,” explained the priest.

He added: “We tend to forget God’s presence in our life so it is now our role to recognize the presence of God’s in our every day experience.”

“If you look at our experience in the perspective of God, we will discover that God does not forsake us and that He truly loves us,” stressed Del Pilar.

He added that during the sharing, participants are not only warned about the negative effects of a particular experience, they also have the chance to strengthen their relationship with God and with others by learning to appreciate life more or by understanding the purpose of life even more.

Silence, Scriptural reading, sharing

The church volunteers were also oriented about the three important points of Lectio Divina, the 3 S’s: Scriptural reading, silence, and sharing.

Del Pilar told the lectors that since Lectio Divina could be considered a form of worship, they are encouraged to begin and end the session with prayer.

Fr. Benjamin Pantas, a formator at the St. John the Evangelist School of Theology in Palo, Leyte, talked in the same vein, saying, sharing during Lectio Divina is also a form of spreading the Good News of the Lord.

“It is the mission of all faithful to share the Word of God, specially to the non-believers,” he said.

In his homily on Sunday, he emphasized the mission of every Christian to share God’s words.

Good until shared

“The Good News is not a good new unless it is shared,” said the priest.

According to the primer, “In the 13th Century, the Mendicant Friars turned the lectio divina into the inspiring source of their renewal movement and that through their way of life, they placed lectio divina close to reality and into the service of the poor and of the marginalized.”

According to the same document, Vatican Council II returned to the old tradition and “recommended the lection divina with a secial emphasis that is applying it to any authentic human encounter with God’s word as revealed in other persons, nature and life events.” (Eileen Nazareno-Ballesteros / CBCP News)