Identifying and Praying for the Needs of Others

Making The Saint John’s Bible a Part of Your Home
National Bible Week 2015

“National Bible Week provides a unique opportunity for parents to revisit and renew their understanding of the power of the Word of God in the life of their family. As leaders of the ‘domestic Church,’ parents are encouraged to be not only the first but the best of teachers for their children in the ways of faith.” -USCCB

Day Seven

The Saint John’s Bible highlights many faces and voices of the marginalized and vulnerable, of those who often are overlooked in day to day life. These faces help us to remember, that it is the marginalized that Jesus often sought out. He healed them and restored them to their communities. As you pray with the faces in the illuminations, spend time reflecting together on who you are reminded of today that could use prayers.

Teaching your children to pray for others helps them establish a pattern of noticing the needs of others as Jesus does. It begins to broaden their circle of awareness. A great way to initially pray for others is within your own family. In order to pray for your family member you must first listen to their needs and understand what to pray for. This is why it is an excellent opportunity to pray for each other after you check-in on your highs and lows.

Once you hear in what way that person’s day did not go as well as it could have, you can pray focused on that topic. And then you can pray in a specific way in thanksgiving for the highlight of their day they mentioned. In the coming days, ask to see if anyone has noticed that the prayers for them have been answered. When they have you may practice offering prayers of gratitude and praise.

Activity:

Ask each member of the family to bring a magazine or newspaper article and/or photo of a current event. Invite each person to explain why they were drawn to the one they chose, how the event makes them feel, and offer a prayer for the persons and places effected.

 

Picking a Theme: Praying with the Miracles

Making The Saint John’s Bible a Part of Your Home
National Bible Week 2015

“National Bible Week provides a unique opportunity for parents to revisit and renew their understanding of the power of the Word of God in the life of their family. As leaders of the ‘domestic Church,’ parents are encouraged to be not only the first but the best of teachers for their children in the ways of faith.” -USCCB

Day Four

The Bible is a big book and sometimes we wonder where to begin. The Gospels are always a great place to start. They are often the most familiar to us.  To narrow your focus, choose a theme (e.g. the miracles) and work your way through passages with that theme over the course of weeks or months.

The miracles performed by Jesus in the New Testament offer us particular insight into who Jesus is. By reading about the many miracles, signs and wonders he performed, we come to know Jesus’ mission in which we are called to participate. These events reveal to us the will of the Father.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Very truly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.'”
-John 5:19

To get started, here are printouts of three illuminations from The Saint John’s Bible showing miracles Jesus performed. Read each passage as a family, take some time to journal what you see in the illumination, then end with discussion. From week to week, center your discussion on the similarities and differences you notice about Jesus in each particular miracle.

  1. Calming-of-the-Storm.pdf (386 downloads)
  2. Two-Cures.pdf (359 downloads)
  3. Raising-of-Lazarus.pdf (344 downloads)

 

Illuminating the Environment: Creation

Illuminating the Environment is a series of audio reflections focusing on care for creation as highlighted by the illuminations of The Saint John’s Bible. The series coincides with the June 18th release of “Laudato Si,” Pope Francis’s new encyclical on the environment.

Creation
Genesis 1:1-2:4

Karen Kiefer
Karen graduated with her Masters of Arts degree from the Saint John’s University School of Theology and Seminary in May 2015. She is currently enrolled in the school’s THM program.

Illuminating the Encounter: Pentecost

Illuminating the Encounter is a series of audio reflections focusing on our encounters with Christ, the church community and each other, as highlighted by the illuminations of The Saint John’s Bible.

Pentecost
Acts 1:6-11; 2:1-47

Jessie Bazan
Masters of Divinity candidate at the Saint John’s University School of Theology and Seminary and Seeing the Word graduate assistant

Illuminating the Encounter: Call of the Disciples

Illuminating the Encounter is a series of audio reflections focusing on our encounters with Christ, the church community and each other, as highlighted by the illuminations of The Saint John’s Bible.

Call of the Disciples
John 1:35-51

Dr. Barbara Sutton
Associate Dean of Formation & Outreach at the Saint John’s University School of Theology and Seminary.

Illuminating Christ: The Transfiguration

Transfiguration cropped

Witnessing the transfiguration of Christ must have been an absolutely amazing moment. But soon after, Peter, James and John had to come down from the mountain. After this incredible experience, the apostles had to go back to their “ordinary” lives. But what does “ordinary” mean? Even when we return to the routine, our lives as disciples of Christ are never really ordinary.

There are precious moments during our days when we encounter the divine — our “mountaintop moments.” Maybe yours comes in the Eucharist. Maybe it comes on a retreat. Maybe the beauty of the divine hits you as you gaze at the sun setting over the lake or listen to friends share a story. These are our moments to see the dazzling white of Christ. These are our moments of transformation.

Experiencing the divine should motivate us to live differently. We may follow routines, but as Christians, we are called to be inspired; to be joyful; to serve others; to love wholeheartedly.

There is nothing ordinary about that.

Join Seeing the Word this Lenten season as we take a prayerful look into the ministry of Jesus Christ through the lens of The Saint John’s Bible. The weekly posts will feature either a prayer or reflection paired with an illumination. All content was written by Jessie Bazan, M.Div. candidate.

Illumination: © Donald Jackson, 2002 The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Illuminating Christ: Loaves and Fishes

loaves and fishes

Think about the last time you were really hungry. How long had it been since your last meal? Three hours? Seven hours? The crowd described in Mark’s Gospel hadn’t eaten in three days. Imagine — hear their grumblings. Feel their distress.

Jesus did.

Christ was in tune with the needs of the famished crowd, so in tune that his heart was moved. His heart was moved. The surge of compassion Jesus felt for his people didn’t stay inside. The movement in his heart led Christ to act — and the result was spectacular. With five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus fed all 5,000 hungry people. These Scripture pages are filled with bread and fish. They just keep multiplying!

Feelings of empathy, shock and even anger can be the driving sparks that ignite action. Like Jesus, we too can do an amazing amount of good in our ministry today. But our hearts need to be moved first.

Join Seeing the Word this Lenten season as we take a prayerful look into the ministry of Jesus Christ through the lens of The Saint John’s Bible. The weekly posts will feature either a prayer or reflection paired with an illumination. All content was written by Jessie Bazan, M.Div. candidate.

Illumination: © Donald Jackson, 2002 The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used with permission. All rights reserved.

Labor Day Reflection on Calling

sowercutoutBy Jessie Bazan

A 2013 Gallup poll on workplace engagement found that only 13% of employees worldwide are psychologically committed to their jobs. The majority of employees (63%) fall into the “not engaged” category.

Why is that?

In too many places, jobs are so scarce that people will take anything just to survive, even if it doesn’t bring much fulfillment. Being able to find meaningful work is a luxury. But I also wonder if part of the issue goes beyond what we do from 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Such disengagement may stem from not being in tune with our broader callings.

In “A Life at Work: The Joy of Discovering What You Were Born to Do,” Thomas Moore defines calling as “a sensation or intuition that life wants something from you” (17). Life wants something – but what?! Should I go back to school? Should I get a job as a painter or a dentist? Am I feeling pulled towards married life or might my gifts be better suited in a religious community? What if many options feel right in my heart? What if none of them do?

Making sense of our callings isn’t always easy. There are so many questions, so many different directions we could turn. Often, there are conflicting feelings, too.

I see this web of callings represented in the Sower and the Seed illumination. I like to think of each seed as one of our callings. Blue jean-clad Jesus is tossing out quite a few seeds on these pages! The Labor Day holiday offers a good time to reflect on the seeds Jesus is planting in our own lives.

  • Are we taking the time to tend to and reflect on our callings — all of them?
  • Which callings bring us the most joy — callings to careers, relationships and ways of living?
  • Which callings planted in rocky soil may be time to let go of?
  • How are we glorifying God through our callings?

Jessie Bazan is a Master of Divinity candidate at Saint John’s School of Theology-Seminary and serves as the Seeing the Word graduate assistant.

© Sower and the Seed, Donald Jackson and Aidan Hart with contributions from Sally Mae Joseph, 2002 The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota.

Peter’s Confession

PetersConfession blogBy Jessie Bazan

“And so I say to you, you are Peter,
and upon this rock I will build my church,
and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it.”

— Matthew 16:18

In the illumination of Peter’s Confession, my eyes are drawn to the lower left of the page, where blue scrawls canvas the fiery orange hue. It is the artist’s depiction of a modern-day experience of hell. These are not random strokes. Together, they form a microscopic view of the AIDs virus.

This week, I can’t help but think of what else could be depicted.

The idiom “all hell breaks loose” doesn’t seem far from reality these days. Violence is plaguing communities around the world, from Ferguson, Missouri to Libya and Iraq. Its pain hit particularly close to home on Tuesday, when a fellow Marquette University alumnus was brutally murdered nearly two years after being kidnapped in Syria. Journalist James Foley and countless other innocent victims are losing their lives to violence every day.

My rational mind can’t make sense of any of it, so I turned to art — not for answers, but for comfort.

See the area to the right of the horse’s head where the gold intersects the fiery hue? That miniscule mix of color gives me hope.  It shows me Christ is not removed from this modern-day vision of hell.

He’s right there in it.

This illumination reminds me that Christ is with us through our own experiences of suffering. He’s with us through the violence. He’s with us through the grief and confusion. Christ is alive in our broken world, a constant sign that the evils of today will never prevail against God’s loving kingdom.

With Christ as our rock, let’s pray for peace.

Jessie Bazan is a Master of Divinity candidate at Saint John’s School of Theology-Seminary and serves as the Seeing the Word graduate assistant.

Peter’s Confession, Donald Jackson, Copyright 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota USA. Used by permission.  All rights reserved.