Translated by Fray Hubert Dunstan Decena, OAR
A. 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). Amen.
With the heart well disposed, with serenity, read slowly the following words, savoring them and allowing yourself to be touched by them.
Jesus said to his disciples: “Whoever loves me will keep my words and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him. Whoever does not love me does not keep my words; yet the word you hear is not mine but that of the Father who sent me.
“I have told you this while I am with you. The Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and remind you of all that I told you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid. You heard me tell you, ‘I am going away and I will come back to you.’ If you loved me, you would rejoice that I am going to the Father; for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you this before it happens, so that when it happens you may believe.”
Let us now meditate with the commentary of St. Augustine on these words of the Gospel according to St. John.
Furthermore, that no one might think that only the Father and the Son, without the Holy Spirit, pitch their tent in those who love them, remember what has been said above concerning the Holy Spirit: Whom the world cannot receive because it has not seen him nor known him; you, however, will know him because he will remain with you and will be in you. Behold, therefore, that with the Father and the Son also the Holy Spirit makes his dwelling in the holy ones; evidently, within, like God in his temple. The Triune God, the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, come to us, while we go to them: they come, coming to help, we go by obeying; they come enlightening, we go contemplating; they come filling us, we go increasing our capacity to receive them, in such a way that we acquire a vision not external but internal, and his dwelling in us becomes not transitory but eternal. The Son does not manifest himself as such to the world, because in this passage the world are those about whom it was added in continuation: Those who do not love me, do not keep my words. These never see the Father and the Holy Spirit, but the Son they see for a short time, not to be made happy but to be judged; and himself not in the form of God, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit he is equally invisible, but in human form, where for the world he wanted to be: suffering, despised; judging and terrible… He affirms, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. This is what we read in one Prophet: Peace upon peace. He who is leaving gives us his peace; He who at the end is to come will give his peace. Peace in this era he leaves, his peace he will give in the future era. His peace he leaves with us, if we remain in it we conquer the enemy. His peace he will give us when we will reign without the enemy. Peace he leaves with us so that even here we might love one another, his peace he will give us where we can never dissent; peace he leaves with us in order that while we are in this world, we do not judge one another on our hidden secrets. His peace he will give us when he manifests the plans of the heart and then everyone will receive his praise coming from God. Nevertheless, in him and from him we have peace, either that peace that he leaves with us when he goes to the Father, or the peace that he will give us when he will conduct us to the Father. Well, upon ascending from us, though he does not withdraw from us, whom does he leave with us but his very self? Actually, our peace is he in person, who out of one reality and the other, he has made only one. For us, therefore, he in person is the peace, when we believe that he is and at the same time when we see him as he is. Therefore, if while we are in this corruptible body that contains the soul, when we walk in the state of faith, not in the state of vision, hedoes not abandon those who are exiled from him, how much more will he fill us with himself when we shall have arrived at the vision! (Io. eu. tr. 76, 4; 77,4).
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.
- “Whoever loves me will keep my word, my Father will love him, and my Father and I will come to him and will dwell in him” (Jn. 14:22).
- How do you live the mystery of being the temple of God?
- In your life, how do you manifest the presence of God in your heart?
- “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you; not as the world gives, do I give it to you” (Jn. 14:27).
- How do you live the peace of Christ in your life day by day?
- Why is the peace of Christ different from the peace of the world?
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 who dwells in your heart and who fills up your whole life. Imagine that you are made of glass and you can see the presence of Christ that fills you. Ask Christ that he be the one who will always live in your interior being.
- Contemplate how Christ himself places his own peace in your heart. Contemplate and experience the tranquility and the peace in your life. Pray and give thanks for the peace that he deposits in your heart.
Think of everything that you can share with those around you about the experience you had with God, especially about being the dwelling place of God and about receiving the peace 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 light 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?
G. Final prayer of St. Augustine
Turning towards the Lord: Lord God, Father Almighty, with a 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 hapiness, 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).