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PORUTHUR Joseph, Chennai says,
For us the Word, listened to with faith, is a source of spiritual life, food for prayer, light to see God`s will in the events of life, and strength to live our vocation faithfully.
By P.T. Joseph sdb
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Chennai, Oct. 15. I am happy to present to you a few suggestions to make our Children and our Young come closer to the Word of God. This extract is from the Provincial Circular, October 2007. Thanks to Fr. Stanislaus Swamikannu SDB, INM Provincial for leading the Province to Jesus Christ. If we do not present Jesus Christ to our youngsters what else are we presenting!

The Word of God:

``For us the Word, listened to with faith, is a source of spiritual life, food for prayer, light to see God`s will in the events of life, and strength to live our vocation faithfully.`` (Constitutions No. 87).

The Word of God listened to with faith will certainly build our communities. We have been requesting the communities to celebrate the Word of God through the practice of Lectio Divina. It is heartening to note that in some communities this practice has become a very meaningful event for the community. Young and old participate with enthusiasm. I would exhort those communities which have not yet introduced this beautiful practice to do so as quickly as you can. We have already given some models for conducting the Lectio Divina to the communities.

I am happy to note that in some of our boarding houses, the students are encouraged to bring their Bible for the Holy Mass and follow the daily readings with much concentration.

The interest for and the knowledge of the Word of God has caught the attention of the lay faithful. They have tasted the consolation and the strength that can emanate from the Word of God. Some of them have become adept preachers of the Word of God. In this context, We, Religious, are challenged to present the Word of God in a very convincing way, after having tasted its inspiration and strength.

Suggestions to make our Children and our Young come closer to the Word of God:

1. We can ensure that each one has a copy of the Bible and the right version!

2. We can enthuse each to have the habit of reading the Bible everyday - a regular and systematic reading. Let them be convinced that not a day should pass without a part of the Bible read! Organize quiz programmes frequently on various parts of the Bible, history of the Bible and other details regarding the Bible. Screen movies of Bible stories that are available - both Old Testament and New Testament. Today these movies are available in Tamil too! You can approach our Catechetical Centre for the resources.

3. We should train and initiate them to pray with the Bible. Show them how they can relate the Bible to the issues of their daily life and make a prayer based on that.

4. The confreres in turn can organize weekly Biblical sessions with the children when they can raise some doubts that have risen from reading the Bible during that week. Listen to their doubts and clarify them, encouraging them further to read and raise still more biblical questions.

5. It would be helpful to narrate regularly interesting facts about the Bible:
a. Facts which they will never get to know otherwise.
b. Facts that will make them curious enough to go back into the Bible.
c. Facts that will make them love the habit of reading and praying the Bible.

6. We could evolve a model of Lectio Divina for the young. Create opportunities for them to have an experience of this exercise.

7. Forming groups of like-minded students, who will regularly have classes, sharing sessions and prayer moments based on the Bible, would be very significant.

8. We should gradually lead them to a state of serious reflection on the basis of the Word of God - a reflection that would touch their interior lives and life experiences. Be available to them if they want you to listen to them.

Fr. Stanislaus Swamikannu SDB
INM Provincial
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