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 hearts well disposed, with serenity, read slowly the following words, savoring them and allowing yourself to be touched by them.
At that time Jesus said in reply, “I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one know the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.
“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for yourselves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.”
Let us now meditate with the commentary of St. Augustine on these words of the Gospel according to St. Matthew.
“When we heard the holy Gospel being read, we heard that the Lord rejoiced in the Spirit and said: I “confess”(exomologoumai) to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned and you have revealed them to little ones. If, for the moment, we consider worthily and diligently the words quoted of the Lord; if –what is more important- we consider them with devotion, the first thing we find is this: not all the time that we read in Scriptures the word “confession” should we understand it as the word of a sinner. I have to begin telling this to you and be strong on it to call your attention, because as soon as the word sounded on the lips of the reader, i.e., upon hearing the word of the Lord: – I “confess” Father-, there followed the sound of your beating the breast. As soon as the word “I confess” sounded, you beat your breast. What does beating the breast mean but to reproach the sin latent in it, and beat with a visible gesture the sin hidden? Why did you do it if not because you had heard: I ‘confess’ you Father? You had heard: “I confess” but you had not paid attention to the subject (doer) of that “confession”. Therefore, pay attention now. If he who said “I confess” was Christ, from whom all sin is far distant, such word is not exclusive of one who sins, but in certain cases, also of one who praises. “We confess”, then, now praising God, now accusing ourselves. The one confession and the other is born of the correct attitude before God: as when you accuse yourself since you are not without sin, or when you praise someone who cannot have sin.
Listen then to the Lord who confesses: I confess you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth. What? In what do I praise you? Well, as I have said, this confessing contains a praise: Because you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned and have revealed them to the little ones. What does this mean, brothers? Understand it from the contraries. He says: You have hidden them from the wise and the learned; but he did not say: “and you have revealed it to the foolish and the ignorant”, but: You have hidden them from the wise and the learned and have revealed them to the little ones. To the wise and the learned, proud worthy of mockery, falsely great but truly bloated, he opposed them not to the wise, not to the learned, but to the little ones. Who are the little ones? The humble. That is why you have hidden them from the wise and the learned. Upon saying: You have revealed them to the little ones, he himself indicated that, under the name of wise and learned, must be understood the proud; and therefore, “you have hidden them from the no-little ones.” What does “no-little ones” mean? Not-humble. And what does ‘Not-humble’ mean but proud? Oh the path of the Lord! The motive for the ‘rejoicing’ of the Lord either did not exist or was hidden only to reveal it to us. Since it has been revealed to little ones, we must be little ones, because if we pretend to be great like wise and learned, he does not reveal to us. Who are the great ones? The wise and the learned. Claiming that they are wise, they became foolish. But the remedy is the contrary. If saying that you are wise you became foolish, say that you are foolish and you will become wise. But say it, say it, say it in your interior self, because that is how you say it. If you say it, do not say it before men and then refuse to say it before God. In what refers to yourself and your things, you are certainly in the dark. For what does it mean to be foolish if not to have darkness in your heart? Furthermore, referring to them he affirms: Saying that they are wise, they became foolish. What did he say before saying this? Their foolish heart became darkened. Say that you are not light for yourself. At most you are eye, not light. Of what use is an open and healthy eye if there is not light? Then say that you are not light for yourself and proclaim what is written: You will light up my lamp, Lord, with your light, Lord, you will illumine my darkness. Mine is nothing but my darkness; on the contrary, you are my light that upon illuminating me, you dissipate my darkness. The light that exists for me does not come from me, but it is the light that I do not share if not in you and from you” (s. 67, 1,8).
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.
a. “I give you thanks, Father, Lord of heaven and earth” (Mt. 11:25).
- Why do you have to give thanks to God?
- What place does thanksgiving occupy in your life?
b. “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am meek and humble of
heart” (Mt 11:29).
- How can you bear the yoke of Christ and learn from him?
- What does it mean for you to be meek and humble?
c. Pray with this phrase: “Lord, that I may be meek and humble, not resisting your will” (s. 157, 2).
I propose to you some points for affective interior contemplation. Once again, you need not follow all of it, rather you can choose what fits your personal experience.
a. Contemplate Christ full of joy in the Holy Spirit and praising God. Participate in his sentiment of Joy in the Spirit and make of your moment of prayer a moment of praise to God for all his marvelous deeds.
b. Contemplate how Christ is meek and humble of heart. Contemplate and ask Christ that he give a heart like his. Make your contemplation the school where you learn the meekness and the true humility of the Gospel. Contemplate and allow yourself to be molded by the Holy Spirit.
Think of everything that you can share with those around you about the experience you had with God, especially about being meek and humble of heart and of learning from Jesus. The following points can help you 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 concreter commitment does this text of Scripture ask of me in my spiritual life, in my community life?
- What has been my dominant sentiment during this moment of prayer?
Final Prayer of Str. 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 you deign to hear our petitions according to your good will, that by your power you may drive away the enemy from all our thoughts and actions; that you increase our faith, govern our mind and 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, one God, forever and ever. Amen (en. Ps. 150:8).
He is meek and humble who offers no resistance to the will of God, whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light, but only for those who believe in him, hope in him and love him” (s. 157, 2).