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Faith Sharing
     
 
We are People of the Word

The mission is meant to be much more than simply a good experience of preaching and celebrating what God has done in Jesus Christ and in his precious blood. It is meant to renew, not only the faith of those who participate in the mission celebrations, but also to renew the life of the parish as its members learn to listen to the Word of God week by week. The effects of the mission are meant to be long lasting.

Those who designed this mission are convinced that the Word of God is alive and active in the life of the Church, as well as in the life of individual Christians. The follow-up to the mission celebrations is meant to enable the people of God in your parish to experience the living Word of God speaking to them week after week. We are aware that this happens every weekend, as the community gathers at Eucharist and hears the Word both proclaimed and preached. However, for many people, a conversation with the Word would have a deeper impact on their own spiritual lives, as well as helping them to hear the Word more fruitfully whenever they hear it proclaimed.

Having experienced faith sharing among the people of God in a number of different settings, we decided that it would be most beneficial to a parish if its member learned how to listen to the Word and hear God speaking to them on a regular basis. We also wanted to give people a skill they could use without needing to purchase any additional commentaries or reflection guides. So we put together a simple guide to help people reflect on the Word and pray with the Word. It uses the gospel for the following Sunday. The method is simple, and anyone can learn to use it. You donít need to be a scripture scholar or have one in the room.

The method has been in use for a number of years. It is a form of Lexio Divina, sometimes called the African Catechetical Method or Breaking Open the Word. A simple outline of this method follows:




Prayer for Guidance

God of the covenant,
in Jesus, the Word made flesh,
you have spoken to your people
throughout the ages.
St. Gaspar del Bufalo and St. Maria de Mattias shared your Word
with the people of their day.
Enliven in us your Spirit
that we might hear your Word and be transformed by it.
We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord.
Amen.




Review

At our last gathering, each of us spent a moment reflecting on what we would do in response to the Word. We now take a moment for anyone who wishes to share their experiences of how the Word was lived out in their lives.



Listen for a Word

The gospel for the next Sunday will be read.
As the gospel is read, listen for a word or a phrase that stands out for you.

Read the gospel.

Share the word or phrase with the people in your group. Do not explain.




Listen for a Person, and Image, and Idea

If the gospel story is a story or an event: As the gospel is read again, whom do you identify with? Which character would you be?

If the gospel story is a teaching given by Jesus:
As the gospel is read again, which idea or image really speaks to you today?

Read the gospel.

Share the person, image or idea with the others in the group. Do not explain it. After each person has shared, then ask them to share the reason why they chose that person, image or idea.




Listen and Learn

As the gospel is read one last time, what did you learn about God, about Jesus, about the Church, about yourself from this gospel? What questions did it raise for you about God, Jesus, the Church, your faith, etc.?

Read the gospel.

Share what your learned and what questions were raised by todayís gospel.




Response

What are you going to do during the coming week about what you have heard today?

Silence.

The answer to this question need not be shared. It may, however, be a good idea to write it down in your personal journal.




Prayer for Help in the Week Ahead

Each person in the group takes a moment to pray for one of the other members of the group, e.g. every person prays for the person seated to the right of that person. These prayers should be short and personalized to the needs and situations of the person being prayed for.

After the last person is prayed for, the group may wish to pray the Lordís Prayer (or some other formal prayer) together before departing.





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