Lenten Offering ~ Week 2
Welcome to Week 2 of WINE’s Lenten Offering—our offering to the Lord of time and listening hearts.
How did you do, reading Psalm 6 last week?
It can take a little while to get into the rhythm of daily prayer with these psalms, so don’t worry if you don’t experience an immediate connection. Allow the Word to fall like gentle drops of rain—a few at a time, at first—and that will soften the soil of your heart and increase your receptivity.
On Tuesday, I introduced you to a shortened version of my favorite prayer before Scripture reading. We will read it three days a week before the Read, Reflect, and Respond steps. Here it is in full:
Lord, inspire me to read your Scriptures and to meditate upon them day and night. I beg you to give me real understanding of what I read, that I in turn may put its precepts into practice. Yet, I know that understanding and good intentions are worthless, unless rooted in your graceful love. So I ask that the words of Scripture may also be not just signs on a page, but channels of grace into my heart. Amen.
—Origen of Alexandria
I wonder whether Origen had Psalm 1 in mind when he wrote this prayer. Psalm 1 calls “blessed” or “happy” the person whose “delight is in the law of the Lord,” who “meditates day and night” on that law (by which the psalmist meant the Torah, the word of God). As a result of all that pondering, the person “is like a tree planted by streams of water, that yields its fruit in its season,” the psalmist wrote. “Its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”
How can the words of Scripture become “channels of grace” into our hearts until they burst forth in spiritual fruit? When we don’t stop with hearing or reading a little bit here and there, but plunge in our “roots” so we have ongoing contact with the life that they provide. When we think about God’s word throughout the day, it in turn takes root in our minds and souls where it (or shall I say He, the living Word) can minister to us and build us up.
This week, we move to Psalm 32. It is very different from Psalm 6. Even though it’s considered a Penitential Psalm, the sorrow and pain and sin it describes are in the past. Psalm 32 exults in the joy and blessing that fills us when we’re healed and forgiven. If you haven’t done so yet, set aside a regular time to “soak your roots” in it. Think of ways to carry it through your day, so you can meditate on it “day and night.” It is the reason we take our sin to God.
And don’t forget on Friday to share with the rest of us, something that touched you about it. I look forward to hearing from you!
P.S. If you’re just joining us today, read the introductory chapters in the book and then skip ahead to the chapter on Psalm 32. You can always go back and read Psalm 6 at a later time.
Questions to Ponder:
As a community of women, sharing a similar journey this Lent, we invite you to share your experiences and insights with each other in the comments (below). Here are some questions, based on the journaling questions in Create in Me a Clean Heart.
1. [READ] What struck you about Psalm 32? Did any words or phrases catch your eye? What did you notice about them?
2. [REFLECT] What did Psalm 32 say to you? Where did your heart draw you? After pondering that passage—what does it mean to you?
3. [RESPOND and REST] Were you able to move into a conversation with the Lord? The specific things that He says to our hearts, and our response, are often private. Would you like to share anything about the experience of hearing from Him, or entering into that conversation, or resting in his presence?
Written by Sarah Christmyer
Sarah Christmyer is a Catholic author, Bible teacher, and speaker with a special love for lectio divina and journaling as ways to draw close to Christ in Scripture. She is co-developer with Jeff Cavins of The Great Adventure Catholic Bible study program and author or co-author of many of the studies. Sarah is an adjunct faculty member at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, where she teaches Scripture to men in their Spiritual Year. Sarah also blogs at her website, www.ComeIntotheWord.com.