Lectio Divina

What is lectio divina?  According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, CCC 2708, “Meditation engages thought, imagination, emotion, and desire. This mobilization of faculties is necessary in order to deepen our convictions of faith, prompt the conversion of our heart, and strengthen our will to follow Christ. Christian prayer tries above all to meditate on the mysteries of Christ, as in lectio divina or the rosary. This form of prayerful reflection is of great value, but Christian prayer should go further: to the knowledge of the love of the Lord Jesus, to union with him.”  The five steps of lectio divina include: 

  • Reading. Read a passage slowly and carefully within the bible. 
  • Meditation. Thinking deeply or dwelling upon a spiritual reality within a text. 
  • Prayer. Having a loving conversation with God.
  • Contemplation. Resting in Gods presence.
  • Action. Go and do likewise.

Meditation 6th Sunday OT Yr. B:  “All men are called to the same end:  God himself.  There is a certain resemblance between the unity of the divine persons and the fraternity that men are to establish among themselves in truth and love.(CCC 206) Love of neighbor is inseparable from love for God.” (CCC 1878

1st Reading: Leviticus 13:1 – 2, 44 – 46:  The leper will dwell apart, making an abode outside the camp.

Responsory: Psalm 32: 1 – 2, 5, – 1: I turn to you, Lord, in time of trouble, and you fill me with the joy of salvation.

 

2nd Reading: 1 Corinthians 10: 31 – 11: 1: Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

Gospel: Mark 1: 40 – 45: The leprosy left him, and he was made clean.

Our 1st reading today, at first seems so cruel. Leprosy, now known as Hanson’s disease, is caused by a bacteria and is curable.  At the time of Leviticus it was contagious and usually lepers were ostracized and depending on the virulence of the disease it could lead to a slow or speedy death.

In the 7th century BC, we would have called it contagious cancer. I feel sure that there were some who were cured by prayer, but I can’t imagine the physical and mental pain that must have filled them.  Lepers had to keep their heads uncovered and wear torn clothing and forced to make their presence known. They had to live far from a village so as not to infect anyone. Today it is easily cured by an antibiotic.

I believe our Responsorial Psalm! I know Lord you will always help me, even if it isn’t what I expected. “I confess my faults to the Lord,” and you took away the guilt of my sin.  My heart overflows with thanksgiving and peace.

The early Church Father’s saw in leprosy, an image of Sin. St. Paul tells me: “Avoid giving offense … just as I try to please everyone in every way, not seeking my own benefit, but that of the many, that they may be saved. Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.”

St. Jose Escriva tells us: “Lord if you will – and you are always willing – you can heal me of my sickness (sinfulness) You know my weaknesses; I feel these symptoms; these failings make me feel wretched.  We show him the wound, with simplicity, and if the wound is festering, we show him the pus too; all the wretchedness of our life.”

When I meditate on this Gospel, I realize that any sin whether venial or mortal is far uglier and loathsome than leprosy!  “Only Jesus can judge and measure the offense of sin; He who is Holiness itself is not filled with anger so as to punish. This is Jesus way. He came to fulfill, not to destroy.”  In other words, He came to heal our weaknesses, not to punish or kill.  SM