Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Lectio Divina, Part 2

Scripture, in some ways, is a reflection after the event of the saving acts of God. God spoke the Ten Commandments before they were preserved in writing. They were in effect from the moment God spoke, they didn’t need to be written to be promulgated. In the same way, Jesus’ resurrection is an unrepeatable event. It didn’t happen because we read about it. We should read and let the reality of what we read go right to our hearts. Sometimes, I believe we are too fancy and intellectual with Scripture. While I don’t advocate na├»ve fundamentalism, don’t we often try to avoid the conversion that Christ is trying to work in us by working too hard to find hidden meanings in the text? I recommend reading the Sermon on the Mount regularly and just trying to carry out what the Lord teaches there.

When we try to allow the Word of God to hit us directly, where it matters, we will probably have a few responses. Perhaps by a movement of grace, we will be inspired and really desire to change. Perhaps we will be struck with compunction: to look at a woman with lust is just as bad as adultery? Oh dear! On the other hand, it is possible to get used to our failings and simply say, “well, I can’t do that” and give ourselves a pass on forgiving, on loving our enemies, on fasting and praying. If we aren’t willing to see ourselves as so weak, it is also possible to seek in allegorical readings a merely intellectual application: adultery is idolatry, and I have idols, yes! But I am aware of them and am working to eradicate, to be sure! All the while, we miss the plain sense that says we must learn to regard persons chastely, not possessively. We might completely miss the fact that we are unchaste in all kinds of ways because we don’t take the first step down that road.

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If I, who seem to be your right hand and am called Presbyter and seem to
preach the Word of God, If I do something against the discipline of the Church
and the Rule of the Gospel so that I become a scandal to you, The Church, then
may the whole Church, in unanimous resolve, cut me, its right hand, off, and
throw me away.

Origen of Alexandria
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