Do You Love me? is a beautiful prayer resource which is the fruit of conversations held between the Spirituality Committee of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales and representatives from the dioceses themselves.
Published by CTS, the book is a practical guide to Catholic Prayer and Spirituality based on Chapter 21 of the Gospel of St John, from which the title is taken, and it shows us how Catholic Spirituality is something we do, not just something we think about or read about. It is very easy to follow and included throughout the book are quotations from significant spiritual writers such as Saints Teresa of Avila, Ignatius of Loyola, Julian of Norwich, John Paul II and many more.
Do You Love me? takes a ‘read-and-reflect’ approach to learning more about our Catholic spirituality and it concentrates on developing the personal relationship of each individual with Christ. It is not a book to be read from cover to cover, but chapter by chapter at most, and even then while stopping from time to time to reflect and even take notes or journal if that is helpful.
It is designed for use both by individuals and by groups, and the chapters take us on a journey through searching, recognising, experiencing, conversing, following and choosing. Each chapter, too, follows a similar format and includes helpful ways to get us thinking, and teaching us how to get more out of reflections on the scriptural reading and how to relate what we discover to our everyday lives. The chapters all have suggestions for personal reflection and for conversation, along with a final section on how the chapter could, if wished, be used for conversations in a group setting or simply with friends over coffee. If you wish to use it in a group session, ideas for timings and ‘how to’ are available here.
Inexpensive at just £5.95, it is also available online from the Bishops’ Conference website
Each chapter of the book follows the same format:
Way In – a short introduction on common life-experiences
Inside the text – a quotation from John 21
Digging deeper – drawing on Catholic teaching and spirituality
Inside out – taking our reflections deeper
Pray a Psalm – a psalm chosen to reflect the chapter’s theme.
If you decide to use the book in a group setting, it is a good idea to talk about confidentiality. Some of the shared reflections may be of a personal nature, so people need to feel confident that what they say will be honoured, respected and kept ‘within the four walls’. You might also suggest that people read each chapter before coming to the session so that the larger sections of text can simply be summarised by the leader. The same format is used as for individuals but the ‘reflect-and-jot’ sections become opportunities for conversation with others.
A group meeting might last an hour and a half as below:
|Way In||5 minutes|
|Inside the text||10 minutes|
|Shared reflection (reflect and jot)||30 minutes|
|Inside out||10 minutes|
|All together||30 minutes|
|Pray a Psalm||5 minutes|
Spirituality Committee Resources
Building on the Spirituality document Do You Love Me? the Spirituality Committee is producing a series of resources to assist parishes explore the document. These include a number of follow-up materials which are intended for use in the Year of Mercy.
The three documents use the same format as the chapters in Do you love me? but reflecting on the parables of mercy in the Gospel of Luke: the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son. They are intended for use by individuals or small groups.
Pope Francis has written:
In the parables devoted to mercy, Jesus reveals the nature of God as that of a Father who never gives up until he has forgiven the wrong and overcome rejection with compassion and mercy. We know these parables well, three in particular: the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the father with two sons (Lk 15: 1-32).
In these parables, God is always presented as full of joy, especially when he pardons. In them we find the core of the Gospel and of our faith, because mercy is presented as a force that overcomes everything, filling the heart with love and bringing consolation through pardon.
Do You Love Me? Resources
Year of Mercy Resources