For my next trick, ok so it’s not a trick.
Come with me as I use Lectio Divina (Divine Reading) as a way of reflection and prayer.
It is a form of prayer that dates back before Saint Benedict, the father of western monasticism, around 547 AD, who made it part of His communities rule and whose community still uses it. Today it is used not just by people in many different religious communities, but by many devout Christians. I’m going to pick a Bible reading, share it with you, suggest you meditate on what sticks out or seems to have spoken to you. Reread it, or a portion of it as many times as you want, and quietly meditate on the words. I will do the same and then share my reflection. (Feel free to share any thoughts you have or use it on your own.)
Lectio Divina Reflection
Then he said to his disciples, ‘That is why I am telling you not to worry about your life and what you are to eat, nor about your body and how you are to clothe it. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Think of the ravens. They do not sow or reap; they have no storehouses and no barns; yet God feeds them. And how much more you are worth than the birds! Can any of you, however much you worry, add a single cubit to your span of life? If a very small thing is beyond your powers, why worry about the rest?
Think how the flowers grow; they never have to spin or weave; yet, I assure you, not even Solomon in all his royal robes was clothed like one of them. Now if that is how God clothes a flower which is growing wild today and is thrown into the furnace tomorrow, how much more will he look after you, who have so little faith! But you must not set your hearts on things to eat and things to drink; nor must you worry. It is the gentiles of this world who set their hearts on all these things. Your Father well knows you need them. No; set your hearts on his kingdom, and these other things will be given you as well. ‘There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:22-32)
STOP, REREAD (as many times as you want) MEDITATE/ REFLECT (on what stands out to you).
My Reflection on these same verses: Luke 22-32
I think of a few things. First the poor. A homeless person may read this and complain that God is not providing for them. The same applies to people who are literally starving to death in undeveloped countries or even in developed countries where people are being mistreated. They worry about their material well being, which we as Christian people should be providing for. These people worry about their physical needs.
Second of all, there are the well-off of the world who worry about looking perfect so they fit in with people at school, work, or their retirement community. It is common to hear people ask, “What are you going to wear?” They want to fit in. These people worry about their emotional wants.
Thirdly, I don’t think God is telling us not to work although it sort of sounds like it. In reference to talking about providing for our needs He says, “well don’t’ worry about it.” I can see how someone might actually think he is telling us not to work.
“The rich exist for the sake of the poor. The poor exist for the salvation of the rich.”
— St. John Chrysostom
The poor have a place in heaven according to the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3. I heard a priest say that “The poor need the rich and the rich need the poor.” He was referring to the rich needing to give to the poor. Part of the condition of salvation is to practice the spiritual and corporal works of Mercy as stated in Matthew 25. The rich fulfill this act of mercy by giving to the poor so they have basic needs met. The rich by not concentrating on their earthly wants help fulfill their heavenly needs.
Lastly, there is something else about this reflection that comes to my mind. I think of how short life is.
We are born; we have happy memories; we suffer, and it circles around until we die our earthly life. Then we have eternity.
I think Jesus was talking about how our Triune God is watching out for us whether we realize it or not. God is so far beyond us. He knows how fleeting life on Earth is. Jesus has been here, living, and suffering. Like us in every way but sin. Even thou there were different concerns in his time and culture, he lived a regular human life. Just like us.
Heaven is for eternity so why worry about fleeting things of this world when you can concentrate on the love of God and doing His will.
What thoughts or reflections did this passage bring to your heart and mind?
Stay tuned for more Lecto Divina reflections from the Catholic Bard.