Lectio Divina: 2022-03-04

We start another Lent Journey; let’s keep on praying, together, for one another, for our needs and those of the world. In particular let us pray for Peace.

Our Lectio Divina took the reading for the First Sunday in Lent Year C.

Luke 4:1-13  Jesus was led by the Spirit through the wilderness and was tempted there.

One

This passage is so familiar but each time I read it the Holy Spirit places something different on my heart. V 13 says that after the devil had finished he went away until a more opportune time. The Holy Spirit is reminding me to always be watchful and alert because as Christians we will never be free from the devil and his ways. He will always be waiting in the shadows ready to trip me up with many distractions. Jesus was physically weak and hungry but still filled with the Spirit and rooted in the scriptures – he withstood the temptations not only in this instance but also for the rest of his life. The devil didn’t distract him from his mission. I pray that I too will stand strong in the face of the many temptations and distractions in life, to be discerning and questioning and with God’s grace and mercy continue with the mission he has planned for me.

Two

We have all experienced the strength of the Holy Spirit in our lives. With the emotions of a human being (he wept, he showed righteous anger) Jesus would have experienced the amazing power of the Holy Spirit. The wonderful spirit filled Christians who have followed Jesus during the past two thousand years are witness to the power of the Holy Spirit. Recently I had an important medical procedure that I had to undergo. Having asked people to pray for me I really felt enfolded by the Holy Spirit in a way I cannot explain. He is always there for us and I am truly thankful that whatever happens in the future I can always rely on his loving presence in my life. What a wonderful God we have.

Three

”temptation”

In the wilderness Jesus did not get involved with the devil’s temptations. Jesus simply quoted the Word of God in scripture. God’s Word has power over the demons we may face.

It’s how I react to temptation that matters. A short prayer or a verse from God’s Word will help me to let it go. Verses that have helped me are “Lead me not into temptation’ and ‘ I must forgive, not once but seventy times and more’

Lord help to call upon the power of your Word when I am tempted.

Four

“Worship the Lord your God and serve only Him.”

Firstly, the very important part of this reading is that Jesus entered the desert ‘filled with the Holy Spirit’. We cannot do anything without the Holy Spirit, we wouldn’t know Jesus without the Holy Spirit and we wouldn’t be able to practise Lectio Divina without the Holy Spirit.

Prayer is all we need. Prayers in thanksgiving, prayers to the Holy Trinity, prayers for deeper faith, prayers for compassion etc. We must pray to Our Lady and all the angels and Saints but we can only worship God, our Creator and Redeemer.

In this wonderful season of Lent Lord help me to pray more reverently, more devoutly and more deeply especially for the people of Ukraine, for people who do not know you, for people who have no-one to pray for them, for children, for the sick and dying, for the deceased, for my own family and friends, for repentance and for the conversion of non-believers.

I used to think Lent was a miserable time and quite depressing. Now I know it is a wonderful, happy time, a time for challenging myself, a time for preparation, for turning over a new leaf, for prayer, fasting and almsgiving to prepare for the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

God bless you all.

Five

Many of you probably saw the news footage of the elderly woman in the Kyiv praying in front of the religious mural. I was so moved by her testament of faith. With her feet firmly grounded she lifted up her arms in prayer. There was nothing timid about her stance, but a strength that seemed to say ‘ I won’t be tempted to give in to the enemy,  because I know this is your world God, and regardless of what happens, You are in charge.’

Surely this was a wilderness moment for her and yet there was no evidence that she had given into fear. It was if she had gathered up the fear of her people and in an act of surrender laid it at God’s feet.

My heart is heavy Lord when I think about the suffering in the world, but the nature of your love is such that you know each and everyone of us intimately and love us unconditionally, even those we see as our enemies. You died for ALL of us.

And when my enemies surround me
I'll trust the victory of Your cross
And fix my eyes upon You Jesus
For You are God and I am not

You are good and You are faithful
As You have been from the start
You're working all things for Your glory
Cause You still reign and You're still God

Philippa Hanna

Six

“Filed with the Holy Spirit…”

These words presented themselves to me in BOLD as I began to read the passage. I did continue to read the text twice but the strong impression remained with just these words.

It first struck me that to face any wilderness time we first need to be filled with the Holy Spirit. We need the Holy Spirit to listen to the Lord in all circumstances and to continue in relationship with Him in praise and worship. We need the Holy Spirit to stand firm against the enemy; to be as David against Goliath, letting the Holy Spirit guide the path of our little weapons to bring victory against the opposing force.

Then I recalled something I heard recently and have been pondering on.

My source said that in the Garden of Eden Man was given “dominion” over all  i.e. he was given “authority”. It was noted that Man was not given “power”. Now, my source said, “power” is spirit. There are two sources of power: God, for good and “the enemy” for evil. With the authority God gave, Man can partner with either power source. God was giving Man free will.

It was for me a new way of looking at things. I see that, first off, Man chooses to partner with the power of evil. While the effects of that choice remain with us today, we daily, moment by moment, have to make an agreement with one power source or the other. This is where we set up an Altar to the Living God or to “the other”.

In relation to the passage I go on to see that we, the world and the Church, are heading for the great wilderness. It will, for sure, be fruitful for us if we have given our authority to the right Source. It will, no doubt, at times, need great discernment to know what is good and what is evil, but doing our best to keep filled with the Holy Spirit we can trust that we will come through to Resurrection and hopefully take many others with us.

Dear Lord, fill me up with your Holy Spirit to the greatest capacity possible for me. Let me stay by your altar and be constantly mindful that I have put my life in your power .” 

Many blessings for Lent for you all!

Seven

Dear friends,

Today my words were: ‘Filled with the Holy Spirit’, ‘Led by the Holy Spirit’

Everything has to do with the Holy Spirit.

Why does the Holy Spirit lead Jesus through the wilderness? Because Jesus needs to start a process, to be prepared for what lies ahead of Him.

But He is not left alone, because He is filled by the same Spirit. Thus, when the Devil appears Jesus is ready to resist his temptations.

Yes, the Devil leads Jesus into the same things with which he tempts humanity: power, riches, ego… all you want. Fantastic, isn’t it?

But, there is always a catch, you need to sell your soul to the Tempter, and worship him.

That is why we too need to be filled by the Holy Spirit in order to resist our daily temptations. We also need to pass through our own wilderness, to purify our hearts, to understand that no riches, nor power, nor filling the ego really satisfies the needs of our souls. Nothing deserves pity if we lose them.

Because there is only one thing important in this life; God. Whoever has God with him/her doesn’t need anything else.

Please, Holy Spirit, fill me, guard me, lead me to resist the temptations of everyday. There is only one Almighty God I want to worship, You my Lord God.

In Jesus’ Name I pray.