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Instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven

When the Lord called the prophet Samuel as a boy, he was instructed to respond: Speak, Lord, your servant is listening (1 Sm 3:9).

samuel and eliI have to admit that my prayer often goes more like, "Listen, Lord, your servant is speaking."  But prayer is a genuine conversation only if it includes truly listening to the Lord.  And the best way to listen to him is through Scripture, his living Word.

When I first began to study the Bible, I experienced what the disciples on the road to Emmaus felt: Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?  Gradually I formed a daily habit of lectio divina which simply means reading Scripture in conversation with God….  Through daily lectio divina I experience the Lord renewing my mind.  Scripture is inexhaustible, and even after reading the same passage for the hundredth time, the Holy Spirit may reveal something new about it.  Saint Augustine wrote, "How amazing is the profundity of your words. ... How amazing their profundity, O my God, how amazingly deep they are!"

When I wake up in the morning, I am not typically overflowing with godly thoughts and heavenly charity.  In fact, I need to be reconverted every day.  I may wake up distracted, or grumpy, burdened with the concerns of the day, with my mind on worldly things, not at all attuned to God.  I need time with the Lord. ... I need to be immersed once again in his love so that I can walk through the day in communion with him.  That is why early morning is the best time to pray.  Awake, my soul!  Awake, O harp and lyre!  I will awake the dawn! (Ps 57:9). 

And each morning, whether I feel it or not, God is there with a far greater desire to lavish his grace on me than my desire to receive it.  Deep calls to deep (Ps 42:8) — he is there inviting me to enter in, receive, partake, and enjoy the fullness of life he has for me.  He invites you, too, to come to him every day in prayer, so that he can strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being…that you may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Eph 3:16-19).



healyMary Healy. "Instructed in the Kingdom of Heaven," from When Women Pray: Eleven Catholic Women on the Power of Prayer. © 2017, Kathleen Beckman, i.h.s. Sophia Institute Press, Manchester, NH. Used with permission.

Mary Healy is a professor of Sacred Scripture and a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission.

The Author

healyMary Healy is professor of Sacred Scripture at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit and an international speaker on topics related to Scripture, evangelization, healing, and the spiritual life. Dr. Healy is chair of the Theological Commission of CHARIS (Charismatic Renewal International Service) in Rome.  In 2014 Pope Francis appointed her as one of the first three women ever to serve on the Pontifical Biblical Commission. She is the author of Healing: Bringing the Gift of God’s Mercy to the WorldScripture, Mercy, and HomosexualityDeliverance Ministry and co-author of The Spiritual Gifts Handbook: Using Your Gifts to Build the Kingdom Her web site is here

Copyright © 2017 Sophia Institute Press
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