Guest Post: Sitting with Jesus by Sr. Christina M. Neumann

(Editor’s Note: Please enjoy this lovely reflection by Franciscan Sister Christina.)

Sitting with Jesus

Image by geralt (2015) via Pixabay, CCO Public Domain

Last week, I was privileged to be able to attend a Eucharistic Holy Hour at the Catholic Newman Center on the local university campus.  It was a beautiful time, complimented by guitar and vocal music, which was very conducive to prayer.

After a crazy day (including working an unexpected night shift at our assisted living home), it was so nice for me to have this chance just to sit there with Jesus, led into prayer by the beautiful praise music.

Another great avenue (probably the best) for leading one into prayer is scripture.  I deeply treasure Christ’s Eucharistic presence, and finding Him present in His Word also is an important part of my prayer.

I most often use the scripture readings for Mass for the day, found in a missalette (and often in church bulletins).

Although ‘just sitting with Jesus’ is a beautiful thing, as weak humans, we usually need some help to get started in our prayer.  Putting oneself into a scripture (I often prefer the gospels) passage is a great place to start.  I’ve been using a simple format for scriptural mediation since my college years, and I’d like to share it with you here.

I prefer to pray before the Blessed Sacrament, but even if that’s not possible for you, I’d suggest the following steps for meeting Him personally in His Word.

 Praying with the Scriptures

Preparation

Pick out a Scripture passage (the gospel of the day is a good choice)

Pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance, to open your heart.  It is difficult to launch into prayer from the midst of a flurry of distracting occupations so take a minute – call to mind that Jesus is with you (in the Blessed Sacrament/in your heart).

Reading

Read a small section of scripture that you’ve chosen slowly and prayerfully.

 Consider

Who is pictured here? What are they doing? What does it mean to me? How do they feel/what would it be like?

Imagine what it would be like to be there.  What would you do?  How would you feel?

Conversation:  Begin to talk slowly to Christ, telling Him of your love for Him, your desire to serve Him, your willingness to do anything for Him. Adore Christ in the scene of the day’s meditation; express your love for Him; thank Him for past gifts; ask Him for new favors in the future;

When the conversation begins to falter, return briefly to the reading to get new thoughts for additional conversation with Christ.

Conclusion

This is entirely optional; but it may be of great value in making progress in prayer.  Thank God for the graces received during the time of prayer now coming to a conclusion.  Then, very briefly, one might examine failings during the period, and resolve to get rid of these in the future.  This determination to hold better conversation with Christ gives a strong determination to make further strides along the road of prayer.

Bio

Sr. Christina works at St. Anne’s Guest Home, a care facility for elderly and disabled persons in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Along with her regular duties there, she also runs a blog for her religious community of Franciscan Sisters of Dillingen and one for St. Anne’s as well. You are welcome to check out the St. Anne’s Scoop and Our Franciscan Fiat.

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Sts Joachim and Ann, Grandparents of Jesus

Saint Anne

(P.S. This is a re-post, with some slight revisions, from last year.)

Today is the feast day of Saints Joachim and Ann, grandparents of Jesus and mother of Mary! Since there’s no St. Carol (what a shame!), and my middle name is Ann, I’ve taken St. Ann as my name day. 🙂

There’s not a lot known about Saint Ann, but tradition (with a small “t”) has it that Saints Joachim and Ann were rich, but very devout. They prayed a long time for a child and their prayers were answered in a big way! Imagine being parents of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

Here’s some other information about St Ann (and St. Joachim) as seen through the mystics.

The Legend

My home church growing up was Saint Ann’s in Keansburg, NJ. I discovered several years ago that supposedly, soon after St. Ann’s was built, St. Ann appeared to several parishioners. According to what I was told, she appeared several days in a row. She never spoke, but just looked down from above the church. I don’t know if any of this is true, but it’s certainly a nice thought!

Celebrating the Day

Last year, Andrew colored a picture of Saint Ann, which I found on Waltzing Matilda’s website. We read about the life of St Ann and St. Joachim. We went to mass, prayed the rosary and thanks to a gift card I had received, we treated Andrew to a movie.

This year, I’m getting the special treat. 🙂 My in-laws are taking Andrew, along with a couple of cousins on a day long motor home trip.  They are going to spend the day as pirates, and have a mini camp-out. In the meantime, I get to have almost the whole day to myself! I have some work, retreat/prayer time and down time planned and I am going to enjoy every minute of it. 🙂

Prayer to Saint Ann (found in Picture book of Saints)

“O God, You bestowed on St. Ann such grace that she was found worthy to become the mother of Mary, who brought forth Your Only-begotten Son. Grant that we may be helped by her intercession. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns You and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen”

Saint Ann, pray for us!

(P.S. I want to do a special shout-out to my friend, Anne, who is also celebrating her feast day with me. Happy name-day, dear friend!)

Saint JoachimSaint Joachim

There is even less known about Saint Joachim than there is of Saint Ann – except that he was wealthy, pious and the father of Mary. In my research, though, I discovered that there is knighthood order dedicated to Saint Joachim; however, after reading some questionable things, I’m not comfortable linking to the website.

Prayer to Saint Joachim (found on about.com)

“O great and glorious Patriarch, Saint Joachim, what joy is mine when I consider that thou wast chosen among all God’s holy ones to assist in the fulfillment of the mysteries of God, and to enrich our earth with the great Mother of God, Mary most holy! By this singular privilege, thou hast become most powerful with both the Mother and her Son, so as to be able to obtain for us the graces that are needful to us; with great confidence I have recourse to thy mighty protection and I commend to thee all my needs and those of my family, both spiritual and temporal; and especially do I entrust to thy keeping the particular favor that I desire and look for from thy fatherly intercession. And since thou wast a perfect pattern of the interior life, obtain for me the grace of interior recollection and a spirit of detachment from the transitory goods of this life, together with a lively and enduring love for Jesus and Mary. Obtain for me in like manner a sincere devotion and obedience to Holy Church and the sovereign pontiff who rules over her: to the end that I may live and die in faith and hope and perfect charity, ever invoking the holy names of Jesus and Mary, and may I thus be saved. Amen.”

Saint Joachim, pray for us!

Linked to Saints & Scripture Sunday.

(Photo credit: Artsome-studio)