Lectio Divina: Intro

Why do you read?

To acquire knowledge. To grow in expertise in a certain field. To learn the latest news. To experience the beauty of life celebrated in literature. To be entertained.

Why do you do lectio divina?

To meet the Lord Jesus risen from the dead and living in His church.

So—if you were to read these words:

"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with him,
he will sit on His throne in heavenly glory."

You might ask yourself: "What did I gain from what I just read? Is it knowledge? Are these words important because they teach me something I didn't know: that Jesus will ultimately be revealed as Lord of heaven and earth?" That is an important thing to know, and if you didn't know it before, you are better off for having learned it. Well then—is it finally knowledge of this kind that you are supposed to gain from doing Lectio Divina?

Then again, though you did learn some things, this reading also leaves you with certain questions. Jesus will come with all His angels in glory? But . . . when is that supposed to happen? Soon, or in the remote future? "Angels"? . . . what are those? Are there really angels? His—"throne"? What does that mean? What is "God's Throne"? These are interesting and important questions—whose answers don't seem exactly obvious . . . which means you have work to do: research, study, and discussion. This could take a while. But, actually, you're interested in these questions and you're looking forward to searching into them, the very thought of which makes you feel a little more alive and engaged with your faith. You might conclude that questions whose answers you don't know are actually a good thing. You feel grateful for these questions and for the opportunity to struggle with them. Is this, then, why you do Lectio Divina—to discover new questions that may take years or the rest of your life to answer? Some people might say so. Actually, concerning yourself with ever more and more questions, ever more and more inquiry, study, and dialogue—is not the primary reason you do Lectio Divina.

Go back to those words which are, (note this!), the Word of God. You are reading the Word of God. Read it again:

"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with him,
he will sit on His throne in heavenly glory."

Those words are addressed to you by a speaker. Who is speaking? It is the Lord. These words are Jesus' own words that are communicated to you through the church which is Jesus' body. Jesus is speaking to you. Do you hear him? Listen to him. Have you ever, ever heard anyone speak the way this man speaks? Read the words again. For the moment, don't concern yourself with learning something new about Jesus or learning anything at all. Listen to Jesus' voice. That, brothers and sisters, is the most singular voice you have ever heard. Nobody—nobody talks the way this man talks.

Perhaps it has already occurred to you: is this not something amazing? Is this not cause for wonder that a man like us could speak of such things as the end of the world—and so calmly, with such love and serenity, and with absolute authority as one who is supremely certain of all that he says? Is it not something awe-inspiring that, at this moment, the God who created heaven and earth has drawn so close to us—that we can actually hear Him speak?

Realization of what is happening in these words may actually startle you. You may feel your heart suddenly stirred by the sheer strangeness of hearing a divine Person speak. You may find yourself suddenly saying to God something like: "Oh God—how good you are!" or "Oh blessed God—I have a feeling I don't really deserve the incredible gift of this moment!" You might be suddenly moved to say: "Dear God—since I have you here, there really is a certain desperate situation I need you to do something about—and right away!" You might find yourself having nothing in particular to say to God—only: "Thank you God—Oh good God thank-you!" over and over and over again.

Then again, after a few moments, in God' s presence, (or has it been longer?), you might find yourself quite at a loss for words. It's o.k. Lectio Divina does not require you to accomplish anything in particular. For the moment, there is nothing you need to say—no work you need to do. God will put you to work, but there will be time for that later. Don't worry if you don't know what to say or do. Jesus is present to you in these words. Be present to Jesus.

Do you remember the scene at the last supper when John lay with his head on Jesus' breast? Maybe you thought . . . "Why is he doing that? What exactly is he doing anyway?" For the moment, John is lost in thought and wonder at the sheer gift of Jesus' presence. He "rests" because for the moment, there is no work the Lord has assigned him to. He says nothing because—well, at a moment like this, you don't really feel the desire to talk. There's no need. Jesus is spending the last night of his life with his friends. It is good to have him there and John is, for the moment, overcome with delight, gratitude, and the all absorbing enjoyment of Jesus' presence.

"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with him,
he will sit on His throne in heavenly glory."

At this moment, you are tasting something of John's wonder and serenity in Jesus' presence. God is good. He has given you this moment, and He simply wants you to receive it with joy. It is a gift. It is from God and it's for you! Your joy, your gratitude, your awe in God's presence so manifestly real at this moment—your presence to this moment is enough.

Coming to this moment and losing yourself in wonder at God's goodness and nearness is the primary reason you do Lectio Divina.


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