Prayer is focus of gathering held in Brillion

By Amanda Lauer | For The Compass | December 17, 2014

Bishop Ricken holds first of three days of prayer renewal

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]BRILLION — Disciples on the Way is an invitation from Bishop David Ricken to Catholics in the Green Bay Diocese to embark on a missionary journey into the new evangelization.

The journey is divided into three areas: Formation in Prayer and Holiness (2014-2016); Formation in Discipleship (2016-2018); and Formation in Mission (2018-2020). The pilot program for the first section was held Saturday, Dec. 13, at Holy Family Church. Bishop Ricken was there to share his personal reflection on how individuals and communities can grow in prayer through the next two years.

Bishop David Ricken led Catholics from around the diocese in a day of prayer Dec. 13 at Holy Family Church in Brillion. The day was part of his invitation to Catholics to embark on a missionary journey in the new evangelization, which was described in his letter, “Disciples on the Way.” (Amanda Lauer | For The Compass)
Bishop David Ricken led Catholics from around the diocese in a day of prayer Dec. 13 at Holy Family Church in Brillion. The day was part of his invitation to Catholics to embark on a missionary journey in the new evangelization, which was described in his letter, “Disciples on the Way.” (Amanda Lauer | For The Compass)

“I would like to invite everyone to a journey; a journey of deepening our prayer life, of learning to be better disciples ourselves and of making disciples of others for the sake of the kingdom of God,” said Bishop Ricken.

The event was divided into three parts: Teach My People to Pray; The Holy Name of Jesus; and Wrap Yourself in God’s Word: Lectio Divina.

Bishop Ricken shared some statistics about the Green Bay Diocese, including the fact that 64 percent of the regular church goers can’t describe a personal relationship with Jesus. To address that issue he recently asked that all parishes in the diocese offer one holy hour every month.

Questions for reflection in the first part of the presentation included:

  • Can you say you truly love Mass?
  • Whom are you particularly concerned about who has drifted away from the Catholic Church?
  • What do you need to do to de-clutter your thoughts, words or actions to make more space for Jesus Christ?
  • What is one thing you can do to strengthen your relationship with Christ and his church?

The bishop talked about discipleship, which he summed up as follows. “Be a friend, make a friend and introduce your friend to Jesus.” You can’t introduce people to Christ if you don’t know him, he noted. “Build relationships. When you go to heaven and God asks how many people did you introduce to my Son, what will you say?” He encouraged the attendees to love the people in their lives enough to invite them to come back to Mass if they have fallen away from the church.

“A disciple of Jesus is someone who is a good friend of Jesus and spends some time alone in prayer with him every day,” noted the bishop. “In your daily life always be looking for Jesus. He’s everywhere. We need to make more room for Christ in our minds and in our hearts which are often too cluttered.”

A question people need to consider concerning things in their lives, said Bishop Ricken, particularly social media, is will this lead them closer to God or farther away?

“Narcissism is the biggest societal sin,” he said. “What is cluttering your life? What do you need to start doing, to stop doing, or to keep doing to keep prayer and Jesus Christ at the heart of your life and the life of your family?”

According to Bishop Ricken, our call is to sanctify, or make holy, the world. “Our fundamental call is to become a saint.” Towards that end people need to spend time in silence every day. “We have to make ourselves comfortable with silence.”

Bishop Ricken demonstrated The Invocation of the Holy Name of Jesus or the Jesus Prayer so that praying can be as fundamental to everyone as breathing and people can “pray without ceasing.”

The method is to sit in silence and pray in union with one’s breathing. When you inhale, say, “Lord Jesus Christ,” then exhale and say, “Son of the Living God.” Then inhale again and say, “Have mercy on me,” on the next exhalation finish up with, “A sinner.”

To simplify this prayer, say “Jesus” when you inhale and another word when you exhale, such as love, mercy, peace or hope.

“Treat Jesus’ name with affection, love and devotion,” said Bishop Ricken. Ideally a person would do this meditation 10 to 15 minutes twice a day but may need to start with two minutes per time and work one’s way up.

The third part of the presentation dealt with the ancient tradition of praying with the Bible, called Lectio Divina, or wrapping yourself in God’s word. One way to start this process is by going over the readings ahead of time for the upcoming Sunday Mass.

“We want to focus on the Scriptures so the word of God becomes a living word to us,” said Bishop Ricken. “During this practice, we should let go of our agenda and open ourselves up to what God wants to say to us.”

The steps involved in Lectio Divina are reading, meditation, praying and contemplation. Read the readings out loud a couple of times. Contemplate on the words or phrases that jump out at you, said Bishop Ricken. During this time pray from your heart and respond to what Jesus has spoken to you in Scripture. Ask Jesus for guidance and talk to him naturally. Center attention on God and allow the word to stir within you the courage, strength, energy and guidance for a fresh start and a new beginning, added Bishop Ricken.

Marlene Boucher, a member of St. John’s/Sacred Heart in Sherwood, attended the event with her husband, Carl. “I signed up because I was hoping to get prepared more for Advent and I thought it was a great opportunity to hear a bishop do a presentation,” said Boucher.

“I thought the presentation was excellent and so did my husband. We were very happy that we attended. What I got from it was really learning how to pray. I loved the meditation to make prayer become part of your every breath.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_message color=”alert-info” style=”rounded”]A Day of Prayer with Bishop Ricken

Two remaining days of prayer will be held in 2015: Saturday, Feb. 21, at S. Mary Magdalene Church in Waupaca, and Saturday, March 28, at Holy Cross Church in Kaukauna. Both run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. All are welcome, free of charge, and lunch is provided. To register call (920) 272-8194 or go to www.gbdioc.org/dayofprayer.[/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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