I attended the January 19 diaconate formation class by myself  this month as Candy was needed at the Get on the Bus (GOTB) information meeting held on the same day. The meeting was at Alamany High School in Mission Hills and we followed the usual format of Spiritual Direction, Morning Prayer from the Divine Office, book reports (on a spiritual book of our choice) before lunch.  Afternoon session was a prayer service, class instruction, and additional book reports.

I’d like to share what we’ve been focusing on in Spiritual Direction; especially the 19th Annotation of St. Ignatius of Loyola. We began the Ignatian exercises as part of our retreat in August of last year and will continue the daily practice of the 19th annotation through May. We dedicate up to an hour each day to this form of prayer. This is similar to what is being offered at Holy Family by Fr. Tri Dinh, SJ  through March 2013.

The foundation of this prayer is to use your imagination as part of the prayer. We are given a number of scripture passages to read each day between classes. The selected scripture is read, maybe a few times, to get an understanding of the passage.  You may even look up the passages in your Bible prior to and after the assigned passage. Once you have a good understanding of the premise of the passage, you imagine yourself at the time and place where the passage took place.

If you were to look at this Sunday’s Gospel, you would imagine yourself at the marriage feast at Cana. You then imagine that you are one of those attending the wedding.  You could be the bride or groom, one of their parents, a guest, a servant, Mary, Jesus or one of His disciples. You see the feast in progress.  You hear all of the sounds.  You smell all of the scents. You feel the emotions of those present.

As the scene progresses, you are able to hear what is happening.  Each word, each intonation, and see the face of the person speaking. How would you react and feel if you were one of the guests at the wedding? Perhaps you are the mother of the groom and a friend of Mary. Maybe you discuss the shortage of wine with her and then watch as the miracle occurs.

This method of prayer allows a familiarity with the scene beyond the text; somehow the details you fill in with your imagination make it a genuine and personal experience.

When this method of prayer was first presented to us, we were unsure how it would affect our prayer life. But, as we began to employ this form of prayer, we were astonished by power it has.  We are able to experience what the scriptures describe. This practice offers you a whole new dimension in understanding scripture.

Our next event will be a Marriage Encounter Weekend January 25-27 (held in Encino) then another class on February 2nd, at Incarnation Parish in Glendale.

If you are interested in becoming a Deacon Couple, you are invited to attend an Information Day presented by the Office of Diaconate Formation.  Here you can meet the formation staff and learn more about the formation program.

Sunday, April 14, 2013 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at St. Maximilian Kolbe, 5801 Kanan Rd. Westlake Village, 91362

If you have any questions about the Diaconate, please ask us or send us an e-mail to wyb@wyb.com.  We greatly appreciate your prayers and support and will continue to keep you informed of our journey.


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