Lectio for chapter 6

loaves and fishesMark 6:30-44

Contemplation with Scripture*

step one

I prepare myself for prayer.
I remember that God is here with me.

step two

I read the gospel story:

Jesus said to them, ‘Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.

Now many saw them going and recognized them, and they hurried there on foot from all the towns and arrived ahead of them. As he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.

When it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a deserted place, and the hour is now very late; send them away so that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy something for themselves to eat.’ But he answered them, ‘You give them something to eat.’

They said to him, ‘Are we to go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?’ And he said to them, ‘How many loaves have you? Go and see.’ When they had found out, they said, ‘Five, and two fish.’

Then he ordered them to get all the people to sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in groups of hundreds and of fifties. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all. And all ate and were filled; and they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish. Those who had eaten the loaves numbered five thousand.

step three

I picture the place where the story takes place.
I ask God to speak to me through the story.

step four

I imagine that I am one of the people in the scene.

What do I see?
What do I smell?
What do I feel?
What do I taste?
What do I hear?

I remain there in the scene.


I respond to God in my own words.
I take time to rest in God.


loaves small

* Adapted from
YOU: Prayer for Beginners and Those Who Have Forgotten How
by Mark Link, S. J.

4 thoughts on “Lectio for chapter 6

  1. What a lively way to experience the familiar story…to bring it into the realm of
    happening to us, now. I can see how deeply puzzling and inspiring the event would be to experience, and how the call to live by faith would separate careful, rational
    folks from the inspired followers of Jesus as thoroughly then as now. I appreciate this new way of approaching the stories…not as fables, but as real time experiences by focusing our senses on the imagined event.

    • This was St. Ignatius of Loyola’s (the 16th century founder of the Jesuits) way of contemplating Scripture…. To enter into a scriptural scene with all one’s senses, with all one’s feelings, with one’s whole body as well as one’s mind – trusting always that the Spirit will use our imagination to open up the deep meaning of the event.

  2. I appreciate being reminded of the St Ignatius approach of embracing scripture through the senses. As a person who most appreciates a “Lived Experience” to the written word, imagining my visceral responses to being part of the sermon on the Mount crowd left a deep impression. I was reminded of how profoundly the reading of the Passion Play impacts me; speaking out loud, “crucify him, crucify him” has always shaken me to my core.
    As to the critical influence of prayer on my spirituality, I believe in the idea that “what I think, I am praying for”. Grateful thoughts become grateful actions. Each new breath invites a sense of gratitude; a prayer of gratitude for the privilege of being Alive. One more breath is another moment to Be in the world, to respond to the world with grateful actions. Breath as Prayer, Prayer as Breath; sustaining life.

    And, thank you for the invitation to recall the prayers of my childhood, quite a walk down memory lane. Being raised Missouri Synod Lutheran there were prayers for every part of the day, remembering them was a healthy exercise in so many ways.

  3. I think that St. Ignatius’s use of creative imagery is a powerful (and much forgotten) use of our senses. Each time we add another modality of learning to our scripture reading it deepens our understanding of that passage. This is a remarkable, and under used) technique and increases our full participation in scripture.

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