Living Word
The Ignatian Method
This may well be one of the simplest methods of meditation to learn, in all the world. Given a chance though - it live changing. It can be applied to all sorts of things, too, as well as Bible Study. Lets face it, it is good to learn the texts and the History. But in the end we must open ourselves so that the words themselves can get in and do their work.
When we lift up our souls to God, we are offering him Ourselves, Our minds, our hearts, our wills, our strengths and our weaknesses. 

Saint Ignatius was a real expert in prayer and meditation. He was also an expert in people and their souls. So - although there are many variations and tailorings of his method, and they are all well worth investigating as we become more fluid in the basic method, here is the core of the matter. 

I am choosing to apply this page to turning Bible Reading into the Living Word. 


      Choose and read the subject over night. 
     Choose not more than three points on which to meditate. 
     On waking, recall the subject, and the grace to be prayed for. 


 A few short preparatory prayers. They may be formal or not, as you please. 
First Prelude:  recalling the points of the subject or the reading. 
Second Prelude: use your imagination. Picture the scene, imagine you can hear the words. Sometimes it helps to imagine yourself as a character in the scene. If the passage has Our Lord speaking, imagine yourself as one of the disciples, a by stander, the woman at the well, someone eating the fish. Perhaps, if it is hard to understand, ask yourself what our Lord might have been feeling as he said this, what he was looking at. 
Third Prelude:  Prayer for grace, to love and serve God better. 


      Mind, Heart, Will. 
     + Apply your mind, recalling the significant episode or words. 
     + Apply your heart, entering into understanding of the meaning, the lessons, and the demands within the passage. 
Especially for Yourself
This may do you more harm than good if you find yourself finding all sorts of other people to understand this for. If our Lord is speaking of Sadduces or Pharisees, at once ask yourself in what ways this applies to you - it doesn't matter if it applies to Jews or the members of the church down the road. It is his job, not yours, to speak to them. Right now he is speaking with you, and about you. It is your job to listen. 
      + Apply your will. Make a resolution. Nothing vague. This is something that should be done the same day. For no better reason than that you love God. Promising vaguely that you will try to be better with Aunt Edith doesn't cut it (grin) Go take her some vegetables.. 

      + Now for the good bit. There's a fancy and rather wonderful name. 

That's a conversation, talk it out with Him, whether he thinks you've got the right end of the stick, the points that are essential for you, is really important, so listen as well, you'll at least sense when he is nudging you towards a different interpretation. 
These acts of the will are the essential bit of the meditation. So test out your decisions and nudgings.


     You won't feel like just getting up and walking away anyway. You may not even be able to. To ground yourself, and come back to earth, write down a few notes. Thank God for the insights you've had. Assess how 'well' you did, where your attention was. Then write down the decisions you've made and go and do them. 

There is all sorts of other useful material in The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius :
it may well be worth your while to find a copy - and perhaps the 'Companion to the Exercises'. Mind you - both these books look horribly dry. It's when you start to do them that the fever sets in. I first met them on a four day retreat, run by a woman who had completed the great retreat.  May the dear Lord Bless and keep her, she and the Saint did a power of good for me.

History of The Spiritual Exercises

The Society of Jesus

For more about St Ignatius and the Writing of The Spiritual Exercises, this is a beautiful site to visit.



Spiritual Exercises
Christian Classics Ethereal Library, Wheaton College).

Jesus: True Interpreter of His own Words

Defending the Faith

(Though I am almost certain 
you'll end up buying your own)

The Beatitudes