“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.
*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.
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
C. Corruption causes public disunity
D. Assyria and Samaria
E. Samaritans and Protestants
F. Protestants and Catholics
G. The “unclean” (Is 35:8)
III. The Sifting – Second Isaiah
A. Private scandal and corruption
C. Corruption causes private disunity
D. Babylon and Judah/Jerusalem
E. Two types of Catholic
F. The “fool” (Is 35:8)
H. Peter 1
IV. The Straightening – Third Isaiah 1
F. Safety (Is 35:9)
V. The Sending – Third Isaiah 2
A. Salvation (Is 35:9)
B. Celebration (Is 35:10)
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