Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Lectio Divina, Part 3

Finally, we are always tempted to read Scripture on someone else’s behalf. Michael Casey refers to this in Sacred Reading as what happens when we are not possessed of good self-knowledge. We read the Sermon on the Mount and we note all the way our brothers don’t carry out Jesus’ commands, at least as we interpret the commands and as we interpret their actions. This is a bad position to be in, but I must say that it is one familiar to me. We might put a more positive spin on it: “Yes! This is what I need to tell so-and-so. Maybe he’ll change if he sees that he is sinning.” Frankly, I doubt that this will ever work except with an extremely humble brother, and if that’s the case, why in the world are we trying to help him and not ourselves who are not humble? But how easy it is to find all kinds of accusations against our enemies in the Scriptures and miss God’s word to us!

The cure for this is self-knowledge, and this comes again from really taking the Word of God to be God’s Word for me today. It comes from a deep desire to listen to what God has to say and to put aside our own thoughts, plans, ideas, preferences and so forth. God’s Word saves! It is Jesus Christ come to unite us to Himself in His death and Resurrection: Scripture, like the liturgy, is the presence of Jesus’ saving power in our midst. But we must take it to be so, and we must take it seriously and to heart. We must constantly ponder all of God’s Word in our hearts, following Mary’s example, and to do so with trust in God, no matter what he says.

Let us simply resolve as monks to make more time for lectio, to allow God’s Word to reveal us to ourselves in our weakness and in God’s loving mercy; allow God’s Word to speak directly to us, not wiggle around it, but accept it and its demands in love for God and gratitude for our salvation in Christ.

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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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