This is a quick summary of the first meeting of our new ladies’ evening Rosary and Scriptural discussion group, Our Lady’s Pearls. We gathered for the first time last Tuesday, December 7, 2010. I’ll begin with a short preface especially for those not on our e-mail list:
Our Lady’s Pearls
We invite ladies to start the new Church year right by joining a very simple ladies’ evening Rosary and Scriptural discussion group hosted in our homes. We’ve been particularly blessed by our friendship and study with the Thursday morning St. Anthony’s ladies’ Bible study, and are trying to create something similar in the evenings, when our children can be left at home with their fathers. We invite ladies to come to come to this new group whenever they are able to arrange it around their other interests and commitments — this should be a source of blessing and not stress or conflict for us all. 🙂
The group gathers every Tuesday from 7 to 9 p.m. We begin each gathering by praying the Rosary, and then continue discussing a book of Scripture or the next section of a Scriptural study. The Our Lady’s Pearls group seeks the treasures that Our Blessed Mother held close to her heart. Simply bring yourself — and a favorite Rosary or Bible if you would like!
The first study is on “Inner Healing: Mending the Wounds of the Heart,” an audio-based Scripture study by Johnnette Benkovic (of Women of Grace). This will run through about Feb. 1, 2011. Next, we will probably make a study of one of Christopher West’s Theology of the Body video series or of the Psalms. Our Rosary will make use of Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s amazing book “Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing.” There are enough excellent women’s-themed Bible studies and Scripturally-based books to keep us going forever. 🙂
For more information or directions, please contact Kristen at email@example.com. I will also be posting info as we go along on this blog, Profoundly Catholic.
“Inner Healing: Mending the Wounds of the Heart”: Introduction
We began by reading Fr. Longenecker’s meditation on The Annunciation, which emphasized the need to ask God’s healing of any wounds related to the time of our conception. Even though none of us remember this time, he cites a study and anecdote that show that children conceived in anger or rebellion experience the negative consequences of this in their lives, as do children who are conceived in love. We then prayed a Rosary.
Next, we listened to the first 12-minute introductory segment of Johnnette Benkovic’s study. The primary emphasis of this talk was that we are all wounded by sin — original sin, our sins, and others’ sins — and that healing comes through identifying and addressing these sins. One key point of her talk was the analogy of vessels. Our hearts are all vessels of God’s grace, though sin has put holes in them that leak-out God’s grace, much like a sieve. If we seek healing, our everyday vessels can be made noble for God’s use.
“In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and earthenware, and some for noble use, some for ignoble. If any one purifies himself from what is ignoble, then he will be a vessel for noble use, consecrated and useful to the master of the house, ready for any good work. So shun youthful passions and aim at righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call upon the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Tim 2: 20-22)
We briefly discussed this and two other Scripture citations she mentioned:
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Cor 10: 13)
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” (Eph 1: 3-4)
We dug-into these citations using the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible and related references in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, especially regarding the need to keep “custody” of ourselves and use the “escape hatch” of vigilant prayer.
Mrs. Benkovic suggested placing the Corinthians quote where we can see it each day, as well as reflecting on a current difficulty in our lives and applying this to it. She reminded us that God keeps His promises.
We closed with a Psalm from the Church’s night prayer, Compline.
At tonight’s gathering (December 14, 2010), we will read the meditation for The Visitation and pray a Rosary, then we will listen to and discuss the second detailed segment, “Sin,” in preparation to identify the wounds of the heart. We invite all ladies who are interested to come to pray and share with us!