“Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her forced labor has been completed, her iniquity has been pardoned; for she has received from the hand of the LORD double for all her sins.

“A voice of one calling: 'Prepare the way for the LORD in the wilderness; make a straight highway for our God in the desert. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill made low; the uneven ground will become smooth, and the rugged land a plain.…'” (Isaiah 40:1-4).

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LOVE the Word® is a Bible study method based on Mary's own practice: lectio without the Latin.

L – Listen (Receive the Word.)

O – Observe (Choose one or more of the following personality approaches to connect the passage to your life and recent events.)

F | Franciscan – On your next drive, pay attention to the terrain and how the road is built. What can you discern about what Isaiah 40:1-4, above, means? What is God saying to you about what the Lenten “desert” is meant to accomplish?

I | Ignatian – I find it interesting that Isaiah 40:1-4, above, speaks about the highway being in the desert, or the wilderness. What is your current desert? Using all your senses, try to imagine a highway through this desert. What is the scenery around you? Where does the highway lead?

A | Augustinian – Imagine the Lord sitting knee-to-knee across from you, looking at you intently, saying to you the words from Isaiah 40:1-4, above.

T | Thomistic -Research road construction here.

What does the process tell you about the meaning of Isaiah 40:1-4, above?

V – Verbalize (Pray about your thoughts and emotions.)

Remembering that He loves you and that you are in His presence, talk to God about the particulars of your O – Observe step. You may want to write your reflections in your LOVE the Word® journal. Or, get a free journal page and guide in the right-hand margin.

E – Entrust (May it be done to me according to your word!)

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy. Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy. Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I love only what is holy. Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, to defend all that is holy. Guard me so, O Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy. + Amen.
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*LOVE the Word® exercises are offered according to FIAT: the four personalities, or “prayer forms,” explored in Prayer and Temperament, by Chester Michael and Marie Norrisey: Franciscan, Ignatian, Augustinian, and Thomistic: FIAT! These prayer forms correspond to the Myers-Briggs personality types.
Series Preview
I. The Summons – History
A. Isaiah’s call
B. History of the Book of Isaiah
C. History of God’s people’s corruption
D. Corruption causes disunity
II. The Separating – First Isaiah
A. Public scandal and corruption
B. Idolatry
C. Corruption causes public disunity
D. Assyria and Samaria
E. Samaritans and Protestants
F. Protestants and Catholics
G. The “unclean” (Is 35:8)
H. Judas
III. The Sifting – Second Isaiah
A. Private scandal and corruption
B. Hypocrisy
C. Corruption causes private disunity
D. Babylon and Judah/Jerusalem
E. Two types of Catholic
F. The “fool” (Is 35:8)
G. David
H. Peter 1
IV. The Straightening – Third Isaiah 1
A. Survival
B. Sorrow
C. Solution
D. Salvage
E. Strengthen
F. Safety (Is 35:9)
V. The Sending – Third Isaiah 2
A. Salvation (Is 35:9)
B. Celebration (Is 35:10)
C. Stages
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