BY SR HILDEGARD RYAN
LECTIO DIVINA: Holy Reading
Sunday, August 19th, 2012 is the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B.
Lectio: Read the Gospel from John 6:51-58.
Read it in a reverent way. The Word of God is Sacred. Let us give ourselves to the Sacred Text, and open our hearts to the power of the Holy Spirit calling us forth to respond. Be aware of the Holy Spirit playing on the fibres of your heart as you read. This is the true “oratio” (prayer) of Lectio Divina.
Meditatio: Some background to the text, so that we understand its meaning. Commenting on this Gospel text, Theophylact, (1050-1109) wrote: “Those who eat and drink the Lord’s flesh and blood live in the Lord and the Lord lives in them. A marvellous and inexplicable union occurs by which God is in us, and we are in God. Does this not fill you with awe as you listen?”
And Fr Karl Rahner says: “Today’s gospel tells us the story of the great supper which God has prepared in the church for those whom God has invited to the supper of eternal life. It seems to me that out of the immense fullness of truth and reality of this sacrament there is just one thing that we should keep in mind – that we receive the body of Christ.
“In the course of her doctrinal development the church has concentrated her gaze more and more on this one fact, that Jesus Christ is wholly present in this sacrament…and that we receive Jesus Christ as the complete master of our lives to be our food for eternity.” (The Great Church Year, page 269).
Spend quiet time with this awesome text. Go to a remote corner of the garden. A seat by the Sea. Park your car in a spot overlooking the Lake, or a beautiful Park. Visit a quiet corner of a Church which is open for prayer. Hear the words: BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD.
A few episodes of STILL TIME through the week will lead to the seed of God’s word, which has been planted in the soil of our hearts, bearing the most beautiful fruit. Allow the Holy Spirit to play on the fibres of your heart like a harpist in order to bring forth the most beautiful melody of your response to God.
I share my response in Evangelizatio No. 1.
Evangelizatio is my LIVED RESPONSE to the sacred scriptures given to me each week by the Church for my formation as a Christian. If I don’t respond, they are merely texts on a page. When I do respond, they are my life.
I am reminded of something which I first read many years ago. Henri Nouwen went to see Mother Teresa of Calcutta. He was troubled by many things. He began to ask Mother Teresa to give him some answers to his questions.
Her answer was: “When you spend one hour per day in prayer before the Eucharist, and do nothing that you know would hurt another person, then all will be well for you.” These are not the exact words, but similar.
Henri Nouwen said she answered from “above”, his questions from “below”. He said she punctured his large balloon of complex self-complaints. He was stunned. And of course, his life turned a corner for the better. This is what the Eucharist does for each of us who believe.
(Lectio Divina is Holy Reading, that is, reading of the Sacred Scriptures. It is a way of life, not a method of prayer. It is about reading (and listening), reflecting, praying in tune with the Holy Spirit within me, resting in God, responding in the way I live, and continually pondering on the Scriptures).
– Sr Hildegard Ryan OSB, Jamberoo Abbey