INVOKING THE HOLY SPIRIT
We invoke the Holy Spirit using the words of St. Augustine.
Come, Holy Spirit, by whom every devout soul, who believes in Christ, is sanctified to become a citizen of the City of God! (en. Ps. 45:8) Come, Holy Spirit, grant that we receive the motions of God, put in us your flame, enlighten us and raise us up to God (s. 128,4).
With the heart well disposed, with serenity, read slowly the following words, savoring them and allowing yourself to be touched by them.
“Jesus came down with the twelve and stood on a stretch of level ground with a great crowd of his disciples and a large number of the people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon. And raising his eyes toward his disciples he said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of heaven is yours. Blessed are you who are now hungry, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who are now weeping, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude and insult you, and denounce your name as evil on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice and leap for joy on that day! Behold, your reward will be great in heaven. For their ancestors treated the prophets in the same way. But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are filled now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will grieve and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way.”
Let us now meditate with the commentary of St. Augustine on these words of the Gospel according to St. Luke.
For this reason, in the biblical text, the humble and those who fear God are also called poor in spirit, that is, those who do not possess an inflated spirit. And the beatitude ought not to begin any other way, because it must arrive at achieving the highest wisdom. Precisely, the beginning of Wisdom is the fear of the Lord (Sir. 1:16), since, on the contrary, it is written that the beginning of all sin is pride (Sir. 10:15). Consequently, let the proud desire and love the kingdoms of the earth: Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven” (s. dom. mon. 1, 3).
“The beatitude begins with humility: Happy are the poor in spirit, that is, those who are not bloated, when the soul submits to divine authority, because he fears to go into damnation after this life, even though, perhaps, he may seem happy in this life. Consequently he arrives at knowing the Sacred Scripture, where with the spirit of piety he learns meekness, so that he may not exceed as to condemn something that the worldly judges to be absurd and he may not become unruly sustaining obstinate quarrels” (s. dom. m. 1, 10).
And who is poor but the body of Christ while a pilgrim on this earth. For this reason every believer who really wishes to be a member of Christ must be conscious of being poor on this earth: “I am a poor who suffers. They have brought me to misery, they placed me in this pain; that is why I say these things. It is not the anger that curses, but the prediction of a prophet. He wants to inculcate in us all that later he will say of his poverty and his sufferings that we may learn to be poor and to bear suffering. Blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. And also: Blessed are those who weep, for they will be consoled. All this he has desired to show us in advance, and thus he said: I am a poor who suffers. He says this of the whole Body. The Body of Christ on this earth is poor and suffering. And even though there are rich Christians, if they are real Christians, they are poor; in comparison to the heavenly treasures they hope for, all the gold they consider as sand. I am a poor who suffers” (en. Ps. 68:2, 14).
With the text, let us now pray from the depths of our heart. I suggest the following phrases and questions that can awaken in you dialogue with God, and at the same time can give rise to affections and sentiments in your dialogue with God. Do not move to the next phrase or question if you can still continue dialoguing with God in one of them. It is not a matter of exhausting the list, but of helping you to pray with some points that better fit your personal experience.
- “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God” (Lk. 6:20).
- How do you live the poverty that the kingdom of God asks of you?
- What do these words of St. Augustine mean to you? “Blessed are the poor is spirit … Not the poor of riches, but in desires” (s. 53A, 2)?
- “Rejoice and leap for joy on that day, for your reward will be great in heaven” (Lk. 6:23).
- Why is there joy in living out the Beatitudes?
- What importance does the eternal reward in the kingdom of heaven have in your life? To what are you committed?
I propose to you some points for affective interior contemplation. Once again you do not need to follow all of it, rather you can choose what fits your personal experience.
- Contemplate Christ preaching the Sermon on the Beatitudes and the disciples around him. Contemplate the reactions of the disciples and the face of Jesus that offers peace and joy for a new way. Contemplate and adore.
- Contemplate your own heart and put it in the hands of Christ asking him to make you possess a true spirit of poverty; acknowledge your poverty and limitation, and contemplate that everything good that is in you comes from God. Be thankful and contemplate.
Think of everything that you can share with those around you about the experience you had with God, especially on how you can live the beatitudes. The following points can help you as guide to share with your community the experience of the lectio divina on this text:
- What have I discovered about God and about myself in this moment of prayer?
- How can I apply this text of Scripture at this moment of my life? What lights does it give me? What challenges does it put before me?
- What concrete commitment does this text of Scripture ask of me in my spiritual life, in my community life?
- What has been my predominant sentiment during this moment of prayer?
FINAL PRAYER OF ST. AUGUSTINE
Turning towards the Lord:
Lord God, Father Almighty, with pure heart, as far as our littleness permits, allow us to give you our most devout and sincere thanks, begging with all our strength from your particular goodness, that by your power you may drive away the enemy from all our thoughts and actions; that you may increase our faith, govern our mind, give us spiritual thoughts, and bring us to your happiness, through your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, who with you lives and reigns, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen (en. Ps. 150:8).
“Therefore, the poor who are blessed in his spirit are rich by the Spirit of God, because every man who pursues his own spirit is proud” (en. Ps. 141:4).
Translated from Spanish by: Fray Hubert Dunstan Decena, OAR