Welcome to the Online Lenten Book Club!
During these six weeks of Lent, we are reading and reflecting on the classic on prayer, Pray To Your Father in Secret by Jean Lafrance. For more information about the book club, visit this blog post.
Week 1 - Preface
Prayer experience is different from meditation: it entails growth and specific direction, and that is why meditations need to be prayed rather than read. God’s revelation calls us to live with God intimately, and that means that God and humanity need to be seen as connected. Prayer always raises the question of the human experience.
This book is meant to help you move toward a well-directed prayer experience. It sets out, as Fr. Lafrance says, the stages of salvation; and everyone who has opened their heart to Jesus longs for that salvation. We can only do that if we are willing to journey with Christ through his suffering and death as well as his glorious resurrection. When we do, our lives take on a new dimension.
Spiritual understanding comes gradually. Many of the saints speak of a dryness that they experience before the consolation of God in their hearts. We also must be willing to go through that emptiness before we can be filled.
For Reflection & Discussion
- What is the difference between praying a meditation and reading it? Have you done both in your prayer life? What are the two experiences like? How are they different?
- Have you ever been able to set aside a full hour for contemplative prayer? What was that experience like? If not, is it something that you feel drawn to do?
- How does a self-guided retreat differ from one under the direction of someone else? What do you do to keep your focus in a self-guided retreat?
- Prayer must be, in Fr. Lafrance’s words, “the very thread of our lives.” How do you keep that thread when living in a secular world?
We invite you to share your insights and answers to these questions, inspirations you received from reading the text and prayer, and the way the Spirit is moving in your heart in the comments area below.
Lenten reading plan:
Week 1 Introduction and Preface
Week 2 The God of Dialogue
Week 3 The Way of Salvation
Week 4 The Working Out of Salvation
Week 5 The Dialogue with God
Week 6 Conclusion
Study Guide written by Jeannette de Beauvoir. © 2017 Daughters of St. Paul. All rights reserved.
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