When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, appealing to him and saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible distress.” And he said to him, “I will come and cure him.” The centurion answered, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only speak the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and the slave does it.”
When Jesus heard him, he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “Truly I tell you, in no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the heirs of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you according to your faith.” And the servant was healed in that hour.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved (http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations/ ).
Most of the time, St. Ignatius is associated with a form of prayer with scripture that involves the imagination. This, indeed, accounts for the bulk of the Spiritual Exercises. But he also proposes several other methods of prayer that can be very helpful for someone on retreat or in daily life.
One such method is that of a slow, word by word recitation of key, basic prayers of the Catholic faith. The idea is not to get through as many prayers as possible, but simply to soak up the meaning that is latent in such rich prayers. For instance, take the Our Father. St. Ignatius instructs us to consider each word, taking as long as we need to in order to relish whatever we are able to find there. It could be that a whole hour passes just considering the word “Father” without having any time to move on to another phrase. Or it could be that we only find one particularly rich word. The prayer period is concluded with the usual Ignatian petition for whatever grace we especially need.
One particular benefit of this way of praying, and why it has been useful for so many Catholics, is that it familiarizes us deeply with the prayers that we say so often. While sometimes it is good to pray a full rosary of Hail Mary’s, at other times, it may be good to just consider the words, “Hail Mary.” This way of praying can also be used with any scriptural text, and any excerpt from the liturgy, for instance, the Lamb of God or the Gloria. It’s nothing fancy, just letting God speak a word of grace and life into our hearts through these treasured prayers.
—Mr. Timothy Kieras, S.J.
As you pray, ponder each word and let God’s Spirit take the lead:
Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.Please share the Good Word with your friends!