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3】Profound Bible reading (note 1)

1. Bible: Each participant brings his/her own (any translation).
2. Piece of paper: One sheet for each participant.
3. Scratch paper or large paper: one sheet (another sheet for “color reading”)
4. Stationary: notebook (loose leaf, if available), notebook for calligraphy practice (or for copying of a sutra)
5. Three to four marker pens (red, green, blue, black, etc.) thin/thick (brush-tip pens would also be useful.)
 Profound Bible reading mainly consists of three parts: the part where you directly appreciate the words in the Bible (plain reading), the part where you chew on them through biblical explanations (interpretive reading), and the part where you digest and absorb them by further promoting understanding through meditation (enlightening reading).
 Divide participants into groups of several to ten people.  Select a facilitator for each group, read the Bible in the following procedure, and share thoughts.  (The procedure can be modified depending on group members and schedule (note 2).)
(1) A facilitator says a short prayer (Participants are also encouraged to sing a hymn.)
(2) Participants recite the relevant part of the Bible in turn.  (Read aloud slowly and clearly as if you are saying a prayer.)  Frankly observe the parts that are inspiring, that you don’t understand, that you cannot digest well, and that are awkward for you (plain reading).  While listening to a reader, close your eyes, or pay attention to the voice even if you are following the Bible with your eyes.
 Participants are recommended to read an equal amount in turn.  When a next reader takes his/her turn, he/she takes a short moment in which one can pray “Ave Maria.”  The Bible translation of readers doesn’t have to be the same.
 If time allows, carefully copy the whole or part of the Scriptures that you have read.  Copy it in a notebook wholeheartedly, using one line for each verse, and to the letter including punctuation.  Write down your impression freely.
(3) After several silent readings, select (one to three) verses that are especially inspiring for you, and write down the verse numbers and symbols on a piece of paper.  In addition, describe the general impression in a concrete short word (a noun such as a brook or sunset would be good).  This word is called “entirety.”  Write down this “entirety” word on paper as well, and submit it.  It is recommended that participants take as much time as possible to think about the symbols and “entirety” word.  You can use any symbols, but the following common symbols may come in handy.  (Spend about 20 minutes for this section 3.)
 ○: Parts that are inspiring (sparkling)
 △: Parts that you want to consider more (that you want to eat a little more)
 ?: Parts that you don’t understand or digest
Wavy line: Parts that just remain in your heart
 You can create other symbols of your own.
 Connect related parts with lines.
(4) Put together the contents on the sheets of paper submitted by participants.  Write the symbols and “entirety” words in the table (of plain reading).  (The table should be large enough for all the participants to see.)
(5) After saying a prayer or singing a song, share thoughts as to why you put symbols on the parts you selected and how you felt about those parts, in order from lower to higher verse numbers using the table of plain reading (joint plain reading).  In this process, it is important to listen, because the Holy Spirit works in the act of listening.
(6) Listen to the explanation about the relevant part of the Bible (interpretive reading) by an interpreter.  (Alternatively, participants may read an appropriate book as interpretive reading.)
(7) If time still allows, you can further meditate so that the Holy Spirit deepens what have been given through “plain reading” and “interpretive reading.”  Using a simple verb, express your resolution to incorporate in your daily practice what have been asked and told by the part of the Bible that you read profoundly (enlightening reading).  Write the verb in the “enlightening” section of the table of plain reading.  If you don’t have enough time, you can do enlightening reading before interpretive reading or even omit it.
(8) If time still allows, express your feeling with free drawings and calligraphy on scratch paper using color marker pens and other pens (color reading).  Each participant could use a sheet of paper or everybody could share a single piece of large paper.
(9) If you did enlightening reading and color reading, share thoughts after a prayer or song.  Conclude discussion with a prayer, song, or in silence.

(Note 1) Profound Bible reading
 Profound Bible reading was developed about 20 years ago by a Carmelite monk Fr. Ichiro Okumura.  This is a method of appreciating the Gospel more profoundly by combining various ways of reading the Bible, deeply appreciating the words of Jesus that are being told to you, and sharing thoughts among participants.

(Note 2) Group members and schedule
 Profound Bible reading can be done in one of the following settings.
[Miniature profound reading] (Focusing on joint plain reading)
This is an approximately two-hour simple program.  Any group of people can do this reading.  Participants recite in turn the part you are reading profoundly.  Then, they appreciate the Scriptures individually for a while (individual plain reading).  After filling in the table of plain reading, they share their thoughts (joint plain reading).
[Profound Bible reading retreat]
 This is a whole-day or overnight program of doing the entire process of profound reading.  The retreat mainly consists of three parts (described in the beginning of this section).  Participants will experience all the parts in order.
 In the overnight program, participants will draw pictures (color reading) to express what they feel.
 Profound Bible reading programs are provided at the Order of Discalced Carmelite Spirituality Center



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