Bishop Robert N. Lynch, DD, Bishop of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, Florida
Censor Librorum – Fr. David L. Toups, S.T.D., September 1, 2006
St. Catherine of Siena was once asked, “It seems in the past God was speaking to many people, but today he rarely speaks to anyone, why?” The Holy Saint answered,“People use to pray, ‘Speak Lord your servant is listening’ today we pray, ‘Listen Lord your servant is speaking”.
Our FIAT is a unique program that is flexible for any size of group. It has been successfully implemented throughout a diocese, within individual parishes, within small individual groups, and even in a mission in the mountains of Peru.
The art of spiritual reading begins with cultivating the ability to listen deeply, to hear “with the ear of our hearts” as St. Benedict encourages us. When we read the Scriptures we should try to imitate the prophet Elijah. We should allow ourselves to become women and men who are able to listen for the still, small voice of God (I Kings 19:12); the “faint murmuring sound” which is God’s word for us, God’s voice touching our hearts. This gentle listening is an “attunement” to the presence of God in that special part of God’s creation that is the Scriptures.
Incorporating this form of listening, along with the Ignatian spiritual practice of imaginatively placing oneself in scripture stories, Our FIAT leads participants in a simple format to come to “know God in Jesus Christ”, not simply to “know about him”. It provides an opportunity to prayerfully encounter the living Christ daily through his word in scripture. It teaches participants how to develop a personal God connection that brings life-giving inspiration on an ongoing basis. It helps them to recognize the promptings of the Holy Spirit in one’s soul. It leads one to a conscious God connection through personal prayer.
Our FIAT is a way of allowing the Scriptures to become again what God intended that they should be – a means of uniting us to Himself. Our FIAT teaches us about the God who truly loves us. In Our FIAT we dare to believe that our loving Father continues to extend His embrace to us today. And his embrace is real. In his word we experience ourselves as personally loved by God; as the recipients of a word that He gives uniquely to each of us whenever we turn to Him in the Scriptures.