Updated: Apr 27
Use these prayer suggestions beginning on April 24 for the week leading up to the Fourth Sunday of Easter (April 30.)
In the Latin Rite Church of the Roman Catholic Communion, the celebration of the Liturgy of the Eucharist is a very cognitive endeavor. It requires significant preparation and serious conscious attention. The Latin Rite Liturgy can be made much more "user friendly" by giving appropriate attention daily to personal prayer with the Scriptures.
Our parish participation in the U.S. Bishops' Eucharistic renewal initiative intends to help Sunday worshipers prepare for full, active, conscious participation in the Liturgy by means of daily prayer exercises that engage the imagination and will.
Each week, this page will provide guidance for your daily prayer, along with some insight into the Scripture readings for the coming Sunday. These preparatory exercises can be used for personal prayer by individuals or shared prayer by families. You are encouraged to pray with these resources at least three or four times during the week prior to Sunday Liturgy. It is recommended that you use one of the following thoughts and reflections daily, but these prayer resources can be used in any order you choose and as often as you choose.
The daily thoughts and reflections on this page are examples of Ignatian prayer. St. Ignatius of Loyola taught his followers a three-step process of preparation for their daily prayer. First, one reminds oneself of the God's presence. Second, one prays for the spiritual freedom to hear and respond to God's Word. Third, one makes a brief examination of conscience to determine how God is leading one at this present moment. These preparatory steps allow one to hear God's Word and respond to God's call.
Try to spend about fifteen minutes a day with this prayer. If one of these prayer suggestions appeals to you, stay with it as long as you find it fruitful. If one seems to have no appeal to you, skip it and move to another. There is no right or wrong with this form of prayer; the value is found in focusing your attention on God's presence in your life.
The resources on this page are quoted from SacredSpace.ie, a website hosted by the Irish Jesuits. Over the course of a week, these resources will help you develop your attentiveness to God's presence and your ability to perceive God's will. You may use these resources in any order you choose, but you are encouraged to pray with all three preparatory steps and the Scripture passage during the week prior to Sunday Eucharist. More information about Ignatian prayer can be found at https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/what-is-ignatian-spirituality/the-ignatian-way/.
Please feel free to post your public comments or questions below.
PREPARATION FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
THE PRESENCE OF GOD
"Come to me all you who are burdened, and I will give you rest." Here I am, Lord. I come to seek your presence. I long for your healing power.
FREEDOM OF SPIRIT
I try to let go of concerns and worries that may be dragging me down at this present moment. I place any concerns I have in God's hands - at least for these few minutes of prayer.
EXAMINATION OF CONSCIOUSNESS
There is a time and place for everything, as the saying goes. Lord, grant that I may always desire to spend time in your presence. To hear your call.
The Scripture readings for April 30, the Fourth Sunday of Easter, are available at: https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/043023.cfm
It is recommended that you use the Gospel reading for your prayer this week:
"Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever does not enter a sheepfold through the gate
but climbs over elsewhere is a thief and a robber.
But whoever enters through the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.
The gatekeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice,
as the shepherd calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.
When he has driven out all his own,
he walks ahead of them, and the sheep follow him,
because they recognize his voice.
But they will not follow a stranger;
they will run away from him,
because they do not recognize the voice of strangers."
Although Jesus used this figure of speech,
the Pharisees did not realize what he was trying to tell them.
So Jesus said again, "Amen, amen, I say to you,
I am the gate for the sheep.
All who came before me are thieves and robbers,
but the sheep did not listen to them.
I am the gate.
Whoever enters through me will be saved,
and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy;
I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly." (Jn 10:1-10)
YOUR CONVERSATION WITH GOD
Dear Lord, stay by my side always. Grant me a trusting heart. Thank you for loving me.