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Lectio Divina Reading

May 20, 2004

The Letter to the Hebrews

Hebrews 1:1-13

PROLOGUE

The greatness of the incarnate Son of God

At many moments in the past and by many means, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our time, the final days, he has spoken to us in the person of his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things and through whom he made the ages. He is the reflection of Godís glory and bears the impress of Godís own being, sustaining all things by his powerful command; and now that he has purged sins away, he has taken his seat at the right hand of the divine Majesty on high. So he is now as far above the angels as the title which he has inherited is higher than their own name.

I:  THE SON IS GREATER THAN THE ANGELS

Proof from the scriptures

To which of the angels then has God ever said;

You are my son, today I have fathered you,

or:

I shall be a father to him and he a son to me?

Again, when he brings the First-born into the world, he says:

Let all the angels of God pay him homage.

To the angels, he says:

appointing the winds his messengers and flames of fire his servants,

but to the Son he says:

Your throne, God, is forever and ever;

and:

the scepter of his kingdom is a scepter of justice;

you love uprightness and detest evil.

This is why God, your God, has anointed you

with the oil of gladness, as none of your rivals.

And again;

Long ago, Lord, you laid earths foundations,

the heavens are the work of your hands.

They pass away but you remain,

they all wear out like a garment,

Like a cloak you will roll them up, like a garment

and they will be changed,

But you never alter and your years are unending.

To which of the angels has God ever said:

Take your seat at my right hand

till I have made your enemies your footstool?

Scripture as a Searchlight

The opening verse of the Bible, Now the earth was a formless void, there was darkness over the deep and God's spirit hovered over the water, is describing a present state of affairs, not a past event, and when I pray from the Scriptures I am letting the spirit of God hover over the chaos and darkness of my being.

 

When I allow the word of God to hover over my preoccupations, then anything can happen, for he is the God of surprises. It is important that I do not hide my inner chaos from the word of God or from myself. We are often so trained that we think it wrong to allow any negative feelings entry into our prayer, especially negative feelings about God. We have to learn to grow out of this training, expressing our feelings and thoughts freely before God and trusting that he is big enough to take our tantrums. There is no point in pretending before God, who knows us better than we know ourselves.

 

There is no thought, feeling or desire within you which cannot become the substance of your prayer in the light of God's word, when you know that God loves the chaos that is you and that his Spirit working in you can do infinitely more than you can think or imagine.

Dealing with 'Distractions'

Trying to pray like this, it may well happen that the mind begins to fill with questions and apparent distractions. How do I know that I am not deceiving myself? How do I know these words are true, that God really does communicate himself through them? Do I really have faith in God? These are valid questions, but for now let them wait. When a child is frightened in the night, mother goes and lifts the child and says, 'It's all right,' and the child gradually quietens. But if she has a prodigy on her hands who replies, 'But mother, what epistemological and metaphysical assumptions are you making in that statement and what empirical evidence can you adduce in support of your contention?' then mother really has a problem in her arms. In prayer we are like that impossible child if we refuse to listen to God until he has measured up to whatever criteria we may care to lay down. We communicate with him first with our hearts. The heart is not mindless: it has reasons, deeper than we can see at first with our conscious minds.

Having left the questions aside for now, what do I do with all the other distractions, which flood my mind? I may begin to wonder if I left the gas on, or remember an Email I forgot to send. If it is urgent, like the gas, the safest thing is to go and check. With matters that can wait, perhaps jot them down for later. Anything else that comes to mind, far from being a distraction, can become the substance of my prayer.

Excepts from a Jesuit prayer site located in Ireland, http://www.jesuit.ie/prayer/

 

Lectio Divina for CP Groups
Contemplative Outreach of Dallas

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