LECTIO DIVINA: 4th Sunday of Lent, Cycle B
Translated by Fray Dunstan Huberto Decena, OAR
A. INVOCATION OF 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.
And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up. So that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him will not be condemned, but whoever does not believe has already been condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the verdict, that the light came into the world, but the people preferred darkness to light, because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light, so that his works might not be exposed. But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.
LET US MEDITATE NOW WITH THE COMMENTARY OF ST. AUGUSTINE ON THESE WORDS OF THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. JOHN.
“For God sent his Son into the world, not to judge the world, but in order that he world may be saved through him. therefore, in so far as it depends on the physician, he has come to cure the sick. He commits suicide who does not want of follow the precept of the physician. The Savior has come into the world. Why was he called Savior of the world, if not that he
might save the world, not that he might judge the world? If you do not want that he save you, you will be judged by yourself. And why will I say “you shall be judged”? Look at what he affirms: He who believes in
him is not judged, on the contrary, he who does not believe – what do you expect he would say but that he is judged – he is already judged, he asserts. Judgment has not yet appeared, but the judgment is already made. The Lord knows those who are his: he knows those who will remain until the crown, those who will remain until the call; in his threshing floor he knows the wheat, he knows the husk; he knows the harvest, he knows the darnel. He who does not believe is already judged. Why judged? Because he does not believe in the name of the Only Begotten Son of God…. But who, already admonished, loves his sins, hates the warning light and rejects it, in order not to be rebuked of his evil deeds that he loves? Who, on the other hand, lives the truth, accuses the misdeeds in his person, is not lenient with himself, in order that God may forgive him, he does not forgive himself because he himself recognizes what he wants God to forgive and he comes to the light, for which he is grateful for having shown him what he ought to hate in his person. He tells God: Turn away your face from my sins. And with what face does he say it, if he does not say at the same time: Because I recognize my misdeeds and my sin is always before me? What you do not want to be before God, let it be before you. If, on the other hand, you put your sin behind you, God will put it before your eyes, and he will direct it when there will be no more fruit of amendment” (Io. eu. tr. 12, 12-13).
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. “He who lives the truth comes to the light, that his works may be seen as done according to God” (Jn. 3:21).
•How can you come close to the light of God?
•Why is it important to tell the truth about yourself to God and to
b. “On the other hand, he who lives the truth, accuses in his person his misdeeds, he is not lenient with himself, in order that God may forgive him” (Io. eu. tr. 12, 13).
•Why is it important to acknowledge our own sins?
•Do you accuse or excuse yourself of your sins?
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 on the cross, inviting you to salvation and repeat in your interior: “Oh, how did you love us, Good Father, that you did not forgive your only Son, but rather gave him up for us sinners!” (conf. 10, 69).
b. Contemplate that you are I darkness and that Christ is in front of you inviting you to get out of the darkness to the light. Dare to go to meet him, to enter into the light, acknowledging your sins and letting yourself be transformed by Christ. Contemplate and be filled with the light of God.
THINK OF EVERYTHING THAT YOU CAN SHARE WITH THOSE AROUND YOU ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE YOU HAD WITH GOD, ESPECIALLY CONCERNING THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST AND THE UNIVERSAL JUDGMENT. 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 dominant 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 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).