Translated by Fray Emilio Larlar, Jr., OAR
A. Invocation to the Holy Spirit
Let us invoke the Holy Spirit with the words of St. Augustine.
Come Holy Spirit, by whom every pious soul who believes in Christ in order to make himself a citizen of the City of God is made holy! (En. in Ps. 45, 8). Come Holy Spirit, grant that we may receive the promptings of God, place in us Your fire, illumine us and raise us up to God (Sermon 128, 4).
With a willing heart, and with sincerity, read slowly the following words, savoring them and allowing them to have an impact on you:
At that time Jesus said to His Disciples: Do not be afraid any longer, little flock, for your Father is pleased to give you the Kingdom. Sell your belongings and give alms. Provide money bags for yourselves that do not wear out, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven that no thief can reach nor moth destroy. For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be. “Gird your loins and light your lamps and be like servants who await their master’s return from a wedding, ready to open immediately when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds vigilant on his arrival. Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them. And should he come in the second or third watch and find them prepared in this way, blessed are those servants. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour when the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”
Let us meditate now with the commentary of St. Augustine on these words of the Evangelist Luke:
With regards to being awake and having the loins tightened and lamps lighted, St. Augustine says the following: “We will have perfect peace when our nature is united inseparably to its Creator and there may be no opposition in our interior. That is what Jesus wants us to understand, in my judgment, when He says: Gird your loins and light your lamps. What does to gird one’s loins mean? To control one’s evil passions, this is the work of continence. What does to light one’s lamps mean? To shine and to do good works, this is the work of justice. And He does not neglect to mention the purpose for which we have to work this way, because He adds: And you will be like those who wait for their Lord when He comes from the wedding. When He shall have come, He will reward us, because we curbed what our lust suggested to us and we did what charity demanded of us, so that in that way we may reign in His perfect and eternal peace, when already we reject every evil without any opposition and we enjoy what is good with full solace. (On Continence, 17).
And about the fact that the Lord seats the faithful servants on His table and serves them, St. Augustine sees in it a foreshadowing of the heavenly feast and of eternal life with God” “The Lord Himself says it to His servants: Truly I tell you that He will sit them on His table, He will pass by and serve them. What does it mean to sit at table, but to be free of worries? What does it mean to sit at table, but to rest? What does He will pass by and serve them mean? First of all He passes by and thus He serves them. And where? At the heavenly Feast about which He says: Truly I tell you many will come from the East and the West and they will sit with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven. Who nourishes there is the Lord, but before He has to pass by from here. Because, as you know, Pasch means passing-over. The Lord came, He performed divine works, He suffered human torments. Is He is perhaps still being spat upon? Is He perhaps still being hit in the face? Is He perhaps still crowned with thorns and still scourged, crucified and pierced with a lance? He has passed by. Finally, the Gospel also talks in that way, on the subject of the Passover celebrated with His Disciples. What does the Gospel say? When the hour has come for Jesus to go from this world to the Father, There-fore, He has passed by to nourish us; let us follow him so that He may nourish us. (Sermon 103, 6).
Let us pray now from the bottom of our heart with the text. I suggest to you the following phrases and questions that may arouse in you the dialogue with God, and, at the same time, may elicit affections and sentiments in your dialogue with God. Do not pass to the other phrase or question if you can still continue dialoging with God in some of them. It is not a matter of finishing this list, but of helping you to pray with those points that are most applicable to your personal experience:
- Gird your loins and light your lamps” (Lk 12:35).
- St. Augustine comments: “What does to gird the loins mean? To control one’s passions, that is the work of continence (On Continence, 17). How can you apply this to your life?
- What do you think about the words of St. Augustine: “What does it mean to keep one’s lamps lighted? The shine and to do good works.” (On Continence, 17).
- “Amen, I say to you, he will gird himself, have them recline at table, and proceed to wait on them.” (Lk 12:37).
- What importance does eternal life for you?
- What does this commentary of St. Augustine: “What does to sit at table mean, but to be free of worries? What does to sit at table mean, but to rest?” (Sermon 103, 6) invite you to?
I propose to you some points of affective inner contemplation. Once again, there is no need that you follow everything, but that you choose what is more applicable to your personal experience:
- Consider how your life is in the hands of God, who invites you not to fear, that you abandon yourself in His hands. Contemplate how God receives you and place your complete trust in Him. Live this moment of contemplation from the perspective of abandon and trust.
- Reflect on how your life is having a lighten lamp in order to go for an encounter with Christ. Consider your lamp, the light that it has. Contemplate if it needs more oil, which is the love of God and ask Him du-ring this moment of prayer that He may give to you the oil of love and perseverance so that you may always have your lamp lighted and prepared to meet the Lord.
Think about everything that you can share with those who surround you of the experience that you have had of God, particularly with regards to your trust in God and of being awake waiting for Christ, The following points can help you as a guide, in your sharing with your community the experience of the lectio divina on this text:
- What have I discovered about God and about myself during this moment of prayer?
- How can I, in these moments of my life, apply this text of the Scriptures? What lights does it offer me? What challenges does it present to me?
- To what does this text of the Scripture concretely commit me in my spiritual life, in my community life?
- What has been my predominant feeling in this moment of prayer?
G. Final Prayer of St. Augustine
“He is the Source, we are the receivers; He is the day, we are the lamps. Great is the weakness of men. By using the lamp, they seek the day” (Sermon 289, 5).