A reflection on Brisbane prayer evening

For Hilary Scarce of Geebung in Brisbane, attending one of the Year of Grace prayer evenings in the Brisbane Archdiocese was an opportunity to join with others in contemplating the Word of God through Lectio Divina – a form of prayer which has shown her that "grace expands us". (Lectio Divina is Latin for Divine Reading.)

According to Hilary, she was prompted to go along to the Lectio Divina prayer evening because of her regular practice of using this method of prayerful reading and contemplation of the Scriptures.

"I try to use Lectio Divina each day in my prayer," she says. "It was really through going to retreats at the Benedictine Abbey at Jamberoo (NSW) that I was introduced to it and I've found the whole process of using the steps of Lectio Divina really useful in my prayer life."

Hilary says that the prayer evening, one of five organised by the Brisbane Archdiocese for the Year of Grace, each featuring a different method of prayer, was a wonderful experience.

"The Word was processed in and then the Archbishop (Mark Coleridge) spoke and gave us an introduction and reflection which was very good," she says.

"He spoke about connecting our Lectio Divina with the theme of the Year of Grace, 'Contemplate the Face of Christ'."

Following Archbishop Coleridge's presentation, Sr Mary Franzmann pbvm led the gathering of about 250 people through the Scripture text.

"So then we all read through the text and spent 10 minutes just sitting with it before we were asked to get into small groups and share a word, a phrase or a sentence from the text that really spoke to us," Hilary says. "After that, we spent some time again just sitting with the word and contemplating.

"Overall, even though it was a very large group to be doing this type of prayer in, it was a really good experience. And for our Archdiocese, I think it is so good for people to be exposed to various forms of prayer.
"It did also really tap me into the Year of Grace and that theme of Contemplating the Face of Christ."
Hilary says that the practice of Lectio Divina has been a gentle but transforming way of experiencing God's grace working in her life.

"It's prayer for me, but it's also a way of my really immersing myself in the Word. It's the constancy – I can do this each day and sit with the Word of God and allow God to speak to me through his own Word.

"I feel I'm being expanded. Grace expands us. That's one of the wonderful things about grace, you do grow."

The five Year of Grace prayer evenings in the Brisbane Archdiocese featured the prayer styles of The Examen, Taizé, The Liturgy of the Hours, Lectio Divina, and Praying with Icons and were attended by hundreds of people.

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