LECTIO DIVINA: 2nd Sunday of Lent (C)
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 heart well disposed, with serenity, read slowly the following words, savoring them and allowing yourself to be touched by them.
Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up the mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son, listen to him.” After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.
Let us meditate with the commentary of St. Augustine on these words of the Gospel according to St. Luke.
The Lord Jesus himself shone like the sun; his clothes became white as snow and Moses and Elijah were speaking with him. Jesus himself shone like the sun to show us that he is the light that illumines every man who comes into this world. What the sun is to these eyes of the body, that is he for the eyes of the heart; and what this is for the body, that is he for the heart. For its part, his clothes are his Church. In effect, the clothes, if the one who puts them on does not sustain them, they fall to the floor… What value do Moses and Elijah have, i.e., the Law and the Prophets, if they put aside their conversation with the Lord? If it were not for the testimony they give to the Lord, who would read the Law and the Prophets? Behold, how concisely he affirms what the Apostle had said: Through the Law, therefore, knowledge of sin is obtained; but now without the Law the Justice of God has been manifested: this is the sun. Testified to by the Law and the Prophets: this is his splendor.
Peter sees this and, judging the human in a human way says: Lord, it is good for us to be here. Tired of the multitude, he had found solitude on the mountain. There he found Christ, bread for the spirit. Why go out there to the fatigue and pain, if he was possessing holy love whose object was God and, therefore, good customs? He wanted that it be good for him; that is why he added: If you wish. Let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah. The Lord made no reply to this, but Peter received an answer. Because, while he was saying this, a bright cloud came and covered them. He was looking for three tents. The answer from heaven made clear for us that what human criterion wants to separate is actually only one. Christ is the Word of God: Word of God in the Law, Word of God in the Prophets. Why do you want to separate, Peter? It is better for you to unite. You seek three tents? Take note that it is only one.
Thus it was that as the cloud covered them making in a certain way only one tent for all of them, there also sounded from the cloud only one voice that said: This is my beloved Son. Moses was there, Elijah was there, but it did not say: “These are my beloved sons.” In effect, one thing is only Son, another is adopted sons. It is inculcated on him who would glory in the Law and the Prophets. It says: This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased: listen to him, because it is he to whom you have listened in the Law and the Prophets. And where have you not heard him? On hearing this they fell to the ground. Now the Kingdom of God is manifested to us in the Church. Here is the Lord, here are the Law and the Prophets; the Lord, as Lord; the Law personified by Moses, the Prophets personified by Elijah. But these in the condition of servants, of ministers. These are like vessels, he as the fount. Moses and the prophets spoke and wrote, but whatever flowed from them they took from him.
Come down, Peter. You wanted to rest on the mountain; come down, proclaim the Word; insist in season or out of season, argue, exhort, rebuke with all patience and doctrine. Get tired, sweat, suffer some torments to possess charity, for the whiteness and the beauty of good works, which were symbolized by the white clothes of the Lord. Consequently, when the Apostle was read, we heard him say in praise of charity: He did not seek his own things. He did not seek his own things, because he gives out all he possesses (s. 78, 1-4. 6).
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.
- “Jesus himself shone like the sun to signify that he is the light that illumines every man who comes into this world” (s. 78, 1).
- What does it mean: Christ in the light of your life?
- In your daily life, how do you reflect the light that you receive from Christ?
- “This is my Son, the chosen one; listen to him” (Lk. 9:35).
- What do you need to listen to the voice of Christ?
- In this moment of your life, to what does the voice of Christ commit you?
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 in the Transfiguration. Contemplate his glory and splendor. Adore his divinity and majesty.
- Contemplate Christ in the moment of Transfiguration, and seek to make real what the Gospel says, i.e., seek to listen to him. Make your moment of prayer a moment of adoration and of loving listening to his word.
Think of everything that you can share with those around you about the experience you had with God, especially about listening to the voice of Christ. 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 devoted 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).