In the beginning * was the Word, and the Word was with God, * and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3 * All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be4through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; 5 * the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.6 * A man named John was sent from God.7He came for testimony, * to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. f 8He was not the light, but came to testify to the light. g 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. h 10He was in the world, and the world came to be through him, but the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, but his own people * did not accept him.12 i But to those who did accept him he gave power to become children of God, to those who believe in his name,13 * j who were born not by natural generation nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision but of God. 14And the Word became flesh * and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father’s only Son, full of grace and truth. * f g h * i * j *
1. The greeting 2. The reply 3. The invitation 4. The question 5. The reply 6. The consent 7. The farewell
26 In the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a town of Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And coming to her, he said, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you. 29 But she was greatly troubled at what was said and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 n Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, * and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,33 and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” 34 But Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no relations with a man?” * 35 And the angel said to her in reply, “The holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. 36 And behold, Elizabeth, your relative, has also conceived * a son in her old age, and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;37 for nothing will be impossible for God.” 38 Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.” Then the angel departed from her. n * *
But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them.3Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle.4They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.5Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. * So what do you say?”6They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. * 7 * But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”8Again he bent down and wrote on the ground.9And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him.10Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”11She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, [and] from now on do not sin any more.” *
The greeting: They brought a woman and stood her in his midst The reply: Jesus remains seated. The invitation: Teacher The question: What do you say? The reply: Let him who is without sin, cast the first stone. The consent: They went away, The farewell: one by one
The Functions of the Questions of Jesus 1. Jesus’ questions form the center of his every conversation 2. Jesus’ questions do not follow from the expected, but rather uncover the hidden needs of the person before him 3. Jesus’ questions open up to people what they can not see in themselves and what is blocking their movement to God 4. Jesus’ questions often go unanswered, but may transform the listener – ancient or modern -- simply by their being asked and heard
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, * “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” * He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”16He then said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”17He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was distressed that he had said to him a third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” [Jesus] said to him, “Feed my sheep. * 18 * Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.”19He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, “Follow me.” *
The question: Agapas me ? The reply: Philo se. The question: Agapas me? The reply: Philo se. The question: Phileis me? The reply: Philo se. The Movement of Jesus in his Questions
Conversation is always initiated by God, planting the prevenient grace of response within his interlocutor God invites us to share more deeply in his life by the asking of questions which cause us to pursue his will The question posed helps to open the interlocutor, turning away from self and towards God Steps that lead up to the question are paralleled by those that lead away from it Grace transforms through the question asked, heard, received and acted upon
It was said of Abba John the Dwarf, that one day he said to his elder brother, 'I should like to be free of all care, like the angels, who do not work, but ceaselessly offer worship to God.' So he took off his cloak and went away into the desert. After a week he came back to his brother. When he knocked on the door, he heard his brother say, before he opened it 'Who are you?' He said, 'I am John, your brother.' But he replied, 'John has become an angel, and henceforth he is no longer among men.' Then the other begged him saying. 'It is I.' However, his brother did not let him in, but left him there in distress until morning. Then, opening the door, he said to him, 'You are a man and you must once again work in order to eat.' Then John made a prostration before him, saying, 'Forgive me.'
1. Greeting: Who are you? 2. Reply: I am John, your brother. 3. Invitation: John has become and angel and is no longer among men. 4. Question: He begged him to let him in, saying, It is I. 5. Reply: You are a man and must work. 6. Consent: John made a prostration 7. Farewell: Forgive me.
Monastic and hermetical conversations are built on a relationship of radical commitment to four elements: (1) Openness to the Truth (2) Respect for age as depth of experience, and youth as lack of experience (3) The vocation of listening (4) Question formation skills As a result, successful conversation between monks as directors and advisees always supports and deepens their practice of these points.
Spiritual direction in the desert Fathers is based on the model of monastic conversation between an elder and a younger, a beginner and a master The younger presents himself for conversation with the elder, whose consent is needed to speak A question is posed by either interlocutor The central problem is always one or another monastic virtue to attain or vice to be rid of An answer is come upon by the elder and offered to the younger
In antiquity, almost all religious conversations about the spiritual life are structured in a formal multi-step way Especially in Judaism and then, by extension in Christianity, these steps are built upon a relationship of openness, trust, honesty and accountability For the ancients, conversation is about entering into a process of the mutual transformation of the interlocutors, whereby the Holy Spirit directs their souls from within their exchange of words All true spiritual conversations are a participation through their chiastic structure in the Incarnation of the Word-made-flesh, the primary analogue of all conversation between God and man
Is present day spiritual direction built on structured or spontaneous conversation? What role should the asking of questions play in spiritual direction? How does the action of the Holy Spirit suffuse spiritual direction in conversation? Could spiritual direction be structured so that the conversation it contains is always geared to a spiritual outcome? Would it support the goals of spiritual direction to structure the conversation with accompanying rituals?
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