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Praying with the Scriptures: Lent and Holy Week

The significance of the ancient tradition of prayerful mediation on the scriptures, lectio divina, was evident in the 2008 Synod on the Word and has become a favourite theme of Pope Benedict XVI.


In his 2010 post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Verbum Domini, he states clearly that more prayerful and spiritual reading of scripture will enhance both our appreciation of the Bible and our participation in the Church’s liturgical life (86).

In the lectio reflection for the Third Sunday of Lent we read, “For years we knew only of a ‘sunburnt country’ withering away into desert because of lack of rain. Then this year the flood gates opened and what was parched, suddenly experienced the downpour of water.” As a people of this ‘great South Land’, hope in the midst of tragedies invites us to move forward with confidence.

I offer three perspectives on this Christian virtue suggested by the spiritual writer, Richard Heffern.

  • The novelist Barbara Kingsolver wrote: “The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”
  • The second comes from the former president of the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel – “Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out.”
  • Those familiar with a popular television series, Xena the Warrior, will recall Xena observing that “Hope has been and always will be safe. It’s inside every one of us.”

Hope is a virtue well worth keeping in mind as we journey through the weeks of Lent with God’s Word as our guiding light. Because of Easter’s reality and its promise, we are people characterised by hope. It is in 3 Lectio Divina Praying the Scriptures in Lent and Holy Week 2011 Year A our very blood as followers of Christ. As a priestly people born of our baptism, we hold hope as a virtue that supports and informs our faith life.

The Easter season begins with Lent, a time of letting go, of being in the desert, as our weekly lectio reflections remind us, ending with the apparent hopelessness of Good Friday. Is not much of our experience but an extension of Lent, if we are alive, aware and looking around? Our broken world, filled with shadows, is the ground of our being. Where do we find hope in the midst of the darkness we see on the news each evening? Is there a reality greater than those shadows in which we can anchor our soul?

We believe the Christian story does not end on Friday. There is Sunday. And our daily encounter with the Word of God through our Lenten lectio deepens this conviction.

David L. Walker DD
Bishop of Broken Bay


As a priestly people born of our baptism, we hold hope as a virtue that supports and informs our faith life. 


Other Praying the Scriptures Resources


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