Lectio Divina

Chapter 42

Good Monday Morning to this week 43 of 2020

Deuteronomy 11:18 : “You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes.

This week we were blessed with an aged person at our home. She keeps repeating verses of all ranges of culture and home and even scripture. When I was young we were also taught quite a few rhimes and bible verses as well and it’s interesting to see how the mind can memorize it for many, many years up into high age.

One way I came across: A prayer method for reading and praying with the Bible:
“Lectio Divina”

Lectio divina is broken down into the following steps named in Latin:

Lectio (reading)
Meditatio (meditation)
Oratio (prayer)
Contemplatio (contemplation)
Actio (action)

Each of these steps together form a process by which we encounter God in his sacred word and respond to his grace. 

Lectio (Reading)

We understand what the passage we are reading says in itself. At this stage we do not yet consider our own lives in connection with the Scriptures. We do not let our opinions influence our reading, but seek to understand the message of the passage.

Meditatio (Meditation)

In the meditation phase of lectio divina, we ask, what does this text say to me, today, and to my life? We allow God to pull up certain memories of people, places, and events in our lives that relate to the passage we are reading. Meditation is also an opportunity to see ourselves in the text. In this way we come to a deeper appreciation of how God is working in our lives through the word. Having entered into the story ourselves, we can return to the present and consider the areas in our own lives that God is calling us to contemplate.

Oratio (Prayer)

Through a meditation on Scripture, we experience an intimate encounter with God that leads us to respond in prayer. Having met our Lord in His word, we courageously speak to him in our own words. In this way we consider prayer to be a simple conversation with God. This conversation that comes in various forms: we ask petitions or requests, maybe intercession, we give him thanks, and we give him praise.

Contemplatio (Contemplation)

A true encounter with the Lord always leads to transformation. Indeed, the Lord God proclaimed, “Behold, I make all things new” (Revelation 21:5). Through contemplation we come to an understanding of the parts of our lives that need to be transformed by God’s grace. We humble ourselves and open our lives up to his transformative power. At this step in the lectio divina process, we ask ourselves: What conversion of the mind, heart, and life is the Lord asking of me? 

Actio (Action)

Finally, although this phase is often not considered to be a part of lectio divina proper, it is an essential result of the encounter with God and His word. We do well to remember that the process of lectio divina is not concluded until it arrives at action (actio), which moves the believer to make his or her life a gift for others in charity. Having received God’s love and grace, we go forth to serve others out of the love we have been given. These acts are done out of the inspiration we receive from the acceptance in faith of God’s love.

Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you. Proverbs 6: 21-22

Wishing you a blessed week as you draw from this rewarding Source.
Philemon

We grow

Chapter 41

Good Monday Morning to this week 42 of 2020

You have planted them, and they have taken root; they grow and bear fruit.
You are always on their lips but far from their hearts. Jeremiah 12:2

God comes nearer to the hearts of His people.

By God’s nearness we understand not His omnipresence (that neither comes nor goes), nor His love to His people (that abides), but the sensible, sweet manifestations and outlets of it to their souls. John Flavel

We grow
Our sincere souls are sensible to God’s accesses to them in our duties, we feel His approaches to our spirit. Our hearts fills apace, the empty thoughts swell with a fulness of spiritual things, which strive for vent.

We grow
Sensible of God’s withdrawment from our spirits; we feel how the ebb follows the flood, and how the waters abate.

We grow
The Lord’s nearness to out hearts, is evident from the effect that it leaves upon our spirit. For look, as it is with the earth and plants, with respect to the approach or remove of the sun in the spring and autumn, so it is here as God speaks.

We grow
With the taste of the joy of the Lord, given to us with the fullness of His Spirit.

We grow
With a mighty strength and power coming into our soul, actuating all its faculties and graces. When God comes near, new powers enter the soul especially to the feeble the the example of King David all so often in Psalms.

We grow
By a remarkable transformation and change of Spirit following. The sight of God, the felt presence of God, is as fire, which quickly assimilates what is put into it, to its own likeness.

We grow
With a vigorous working of the heart heavenward; a mounting of the soul upward.

We grow
By a glimpse of God’s presence, going down to our hearts? Oh, how unutterable, then, must that be which is seen and felt above, where God comes as near to man as can be!

Wishing you this, His nearness and presence this week.

Philemon



Grace in God-forsaken places

Chapter 40

Good Monday Morning to this week 41 of 2020

Last week I got a message with some very disturbing lines of hardship and trouble. Ending the message the question was raised and ended the conversation abruptly:

Has God forgotten us?

Why, Lord, do you stand far off?
Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?
Psalm 10.1

Why do You stand afar off, O LORD?  Here, the psalmist asked a question well known to those who follow God: the concern, the anxiety, over the seeming inactivity of God. The psalmist felt that God was afar off and did even hide in times of trouble.

or in Mark 5:

If we ever wonder how bad it can get, how lonely, how divided, how isolated and separated we can become, this passage in Mark’s gospel paints the picture in haunting detail:

The man had been dwelling among the tombs, and no one could restrain him any longer, even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 

Brendan Busse, an Jesuite writes:

The poorest places of our world are never so poor as to be truly God-forsaken, but they have certainly been desecrated. The real scourge of poverty is not about being God-forsaken as much as having been desecrated by systems and structures, personal and social sins of violence, exclusion, and exploitation. The sanctity of life is damaged or denied by a lack of compassion and care. What God created in his goodness we have desecrated in callousness and cruelty.

In Mark 5.9: Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”

God-forsaken places don’t exist and God-forsaken people even less so. You only have to visit to know that this is true. Walk into those places and up to those people and simply ask, “What is your name?” And the forsaken will be returned to themselves, the human family made a little more like what God intended. The many become one, with not a single person abandoned in self-harm or isolation, but rather something more like a family reunited, like a lost child returned home.

One way to walk out of the “God forsaken places” he further writes:
In God-forsaken place’ we do simple things – simple verbs are the heart of the matter: We share, we accompany, we collaborate.

I wish you a week full of hope and care for those feeling “God forsaken”.

Philemon