Thursday, February 18, 2010

Lectio Divina Meditation for First Sunday of Lent

February 21
“Victorious over Temptation”

1. Lectio
Luke 4:1-13
1 Jesus returned from the Jordan full of the Holy Spirit and was led by the Spirit into the desert, 2 where he was tempted by the Devil for 40 days. In all that time he ate nothing, so that he was hungry when it was over.
3 The Devil said to him, “If you are God’s Son, order this stone to turn into bread.”
4 But Jesus answered, “The scripture says, ‘Human beings cannot live on bread alone.’
5 Then the Devil took him up and showed him in a second all the kingdoms of the world. 6 “I will give you all this power and all this wealth,” the Devil told him. “It has all been handed over to me, and I can give it to anyone I choose. 7 All this will be yours, then, if you worship me.”
8 Jesus answered, “The scripture says, ‘Worship the Lord your God and serve only him!’ ”
9 Then the Devil took him to Jerusalem and set him on the highest point of the Temple, and said to him, “If you are God’s Son, throw yourself down from here. 10 For the scripture says, ‘God will order his angels to take good care of you.’
11 It also says, ‘They will hold you up with their hands so that not even your feet will
be hurt on the stones.’ ”
12 But Jesus answered, “The scripture says, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ”
13 When the Devil finished tempting Jesus in every way, he left him for a while.

We begin the season of Lent with a reflection on temptations. The three temptations point to three major temptations in the life of every person: possessions (bread), power (kingdoms of the world), and popularity (leaping down from the Temple). We often deceive ourselves into thinking that we can only be somebody important if we have one or all three of these things: possessions, power and popularity. We forget that we are already loved by God, and that is the very foundation of our worth. The three temptations also illustrate the core of every temptation: the desire to push God aside, to regard him secondary and redundant, to rely solely on one’s own strength, and to forget our identity as God’s beloved children.

2. Meditatio
1. Are we often tempted to forget about God? Are we tempted to believe that our worth comes from possessions, power and popularity?
2. Do we rely on our own strength and imagine that we can put right the problems of the world? Do we recognise that we need God especially when we are experiencing the desert or the emptiness in our lives?

3. Oratio
Your word is life and joy for me.
Fill me with your Holy Spirit
That I may have the strength and courage
To embrace your will in all things and
To renounce whatever is contrary to it.
Let me not fall into the temptation of believing
That my worth comes from possessions,
Power and popularity,
But help me remember that I am truly loved by You
In spite of my weaknesses and sinfulness.

4. Contemplatio
Imagine yourself in the desert, alone with God. Let go of images and words and just abide in God’s presence.

5. Actio
1. Personal Life: What is one area of my life that I would need to work on to free myself from the temptations of the devil? Possession, Power, Popularity?
2. Communal Life: Set aside a day or a few days for communal fasting, i.e. everyone in the group makes a commitment to fast on that day. Offer up this day of fasting for some intention: for the sick, the elderly, the lonely, for the country, etc.

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