Lectio Divina Reading
May 20, 2004
The Letter to the Hebrews
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;
Again, when he brings the First-born into the world, he says:
To the angels, he says:
but to the Son he says:
To which of the angels has God ever said:
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, www.jesuit.ie/prayer/
for CP Groups
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