A Lectio Divina Approach to the Sunday and Weekday Liturgy

 

BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD (Series 10, n.16)

THIRD WEEK OF LENT: March 11-17, 2012 ***

 

(N.B. The pastoral tool BREAKING THE BREAD OF THE WORD: A LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY LITURGY includes a prayerful study of the Sunday liturgy of Year B from three perspectives. For reflections on the Sunday liturgy based on the Gospel reading, please scroll up to the “ARCHIVES” above and open Series 1. For reflections based on the Old Testament reading, open Series 4. For reflections based on the Second Reading, open Series 7. Please go to Series 10 for the back issues of the Weekday Lectio.

 

Series 10 presents A LECTIO DIVINA APPROACH TO THE SUNDAY - WEEKDAY LITURGY: March 11 – March 17, 2012. The following reflections are based on the weekday liturgy’s Gospel reading.)

 

***

 

March 11: THIRD SUNDAY OF LENT

 “LENT: A Time to Be Built into Christ-Temple”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Ex 20:1-17 // I Cor 1:22-25 // Jn 4:5-42

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

           St. Mary’s Catholic Parish in Fresno gathered for a retreat on March 7-8, 2003. The parishioners capped their second day of retreat with a visit to the site where the future church edifice will be built. As they stood at the edge of a vast field surrounded by neatly tended vineyards, their pastor, Msgr. Patrick McCormick, prayed that the effort of St. Mary’s Parish “to unite all with Christ and the community” may be blessed. They invoked God to make of them a holy people, “a temple of God built of living stones, where the Father is worshipped in spirit and truth”. They prayed, moreover, that the church building of St. Mary’s Parish that will rise on that site might truly be an expression of their love as a community built on Christ, the cornerstone. Indeed, the concern of St. Mary’s Catholic Parish to strengthen the community’s sense of Church before embarking on the construction of the church edifice is founded on the principle that Christ is the true temple of God. 

In today’s Gospel reading, the evangelist John presents “the temple of Christ’s body” as the true temple. The new temple is the glorified body of the Risen Christ. Indeed, the major sign that justified his actions and gave authority to his words is the resurrection event. It revealed that Jesus is truly the Son of God. The sign of Christ-temple demands an unmitigated response of trust, faith, and commitment from every Christian who is a part of the Church-temple. In this Lenten season, let us appreciate more deeply that we are “living stones”. Let us allow the grace of God to incorporate us more intimately into Christ and the Church-temple.

St. Augustine declares: “Real belief in Christ means love of Christ … All who believe in this way are like the living stones which go to build God’s temple, and like the rot-free timber used in the framework of the ark which the flood waters could not submerge. It is in this temple, that is, in ourselves, that prayer is addressed to God and heard by him … The temple of God, this body of Christ, this assembly of believers, has but one voice, and sings the psalms as though it were but one person. If we wish, it is our voice; if we wish, we may listen to the singer with our ears and ourselves sing in our hearts. But if we choose not to do so it will mean that we are like buyers and sellers, preoccupied with our own interests.” 

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO 

 

Are we receptive to the “signs” that Jesus continually works for God’s temple, the Church? Do we believe that Christ abides with us and continues to live on in the Church? How do we show respect and reverence to the “living stones” that comprise the new temple of God?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Lord Jesus, you are the true temple. We are living stones and by your power, we are built upon you, the cornerstone. You abide with us and we dwell in you. Give us the grace to reverence all the “living stones” that comprise the new temple of God. Help us to care especially for the fragile and vulnerable. Let true worship be offered you by the Church-people of God. We love and serve you, now and forever. Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.” (cf. Jn 2:19)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO   

 

Thank the Lord for the living Church, the community of believers and see the importance of the church building in relation to the living Church. Contribute some of your time and resources for the upkeep of your parish church.

 

 

***

 

March 12, 2012 (Monday): LENTEN WEEKDAY (3)

 “LENT: A Time to Be Patient in Rejection”

 

BIBLE READINGS

II Kgs 5:1-15b // Lk 4:24-30

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

Jesus returned to an uncertain welcome to his hometown Nazareth. At the worship service in the synagogue, he initially impressed them by his preaching. But eventually a negative thought surfaced: How could he be the Messiah? Isn’t he the son of Joseph? Jesus then compared himself to Elijah who assisted a widow in Zarephath during a drought and to Elisha who healed the Syrian leper, Naaman. The two great prophets of ancient Israel served non-Israelites because their own people were not open to their ministries. Jesus implied that he was also a prophet rejected by his own people. He would take his message to outsiders. This prospect enraged his country folks. They wanted to throw him off the cliff and kill him. But Jesus walked off unscathed. The hostility of the people in Nazareth did not succeed in killng him. But it was a foretaste of the decisive rejection that would lead to his death on the cross.

                                                                             

Lent is a time to contemplate what Jesus experienced in doing his messianic works. United with him, we too experience the world’s rejection. But strengthened by him, we learn to be patient in suffering and look forward to our glorious destiny. The following story is quaint, but a powerful reminder of the condemnation Jesus suffered for loving us so much (cf. Anthony De Mello, TAKING FLIGHT: A Book of Story Mediations: New York: Image Books, New York, 1988, p. 126-127).

 

“Prisoner at the bar”, said the Grand Inquisitor, “you are charged with encouraging people to break the laws, traditions, and customs of our holy religion. How do you plead?”

 

“Guilty, Your Honor.”

 

“And with frequenting the company of heretics, prostitutes, public sinners, the extortionist tax-collectors, the colonial conquerors of our nation – in short, the excommunicated. How do you plead?”

 

“Guilty, Your Honor.”

 

“Also with publicly criticizing and denouncing those who have been placed in authority within the Church of God. How do you plead?”

 

“Guilty, Your Honor.”

 

“Finally, you are charged with revising, correcting, calling into question the sacred tenets of our faith. How do you plead?”

 

“Guilty, Your Honor.”

 

“What is your name, prisoner?”

 

“Jesus Christ, Your Honor.”

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Do we experience rejection? Do we try to unite this difficult experience with that of Jesus? Do we allow the grace of God to transform our pain into possibility?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Lord Jesus, you experienced rejection. You are no stranger to our pain of alienation. Be with us. Give us the grace to be intimately united with you. Transform our tragedy into triumph, our pain into possibility, and our hurt into healing. We trust in you and perceive the glorious destiny beyond the violence of the cross. You live and reign, forever and ever. Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“They drove him out of the town.” (cf. Lk 4:29)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

When you experience rejection, unite this painful experience with Jesus. Offer a comforting word and a caring hand to someone who feels rejected.

 

 

***

 

March 13, 2012 (Tuesday): LENTEN WEEKDAY (3)

“LENT: A Time for Merciful Forgiveness”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Dn 3:25,34-43 // Mt 18:21-35

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

Today’s parable of the unforgiving servant underlines the Christian duty of forgiveness. Our belonging to the kingdom requires unlimited forgiveness, which is to take the place of retaliation. We have experienced the immeasurable forgiveness of God. As a result, we must reflect his forgiving love to others. All of us are indebted to the merciful God. To refuse to forgive puts us outside his kingdom and, consequently, outside the realm of his forgiving love. A merciless stance makes us impermeable to the dew of God’s healing love. Personal resentment is self-destructive. Keeping a grudge alive saps our strength. But responding to Jesus’ call for merciful forgiveness is healing and liberating. Lent is the season to address our deep need for forgiveness. It is a privileged time to experience the miracle of brokenness being transformed to wholeness.

 

The following story illustrates the tragedy of refusing to forgive (cf. Anthony De Mello, TAKING FLIGHT: A Book of Story Meditations: New York: Image Books, New York, 1988, p. 119-120).

 

Laila and Rama were lovers, but too poor to get married as yet. They lived in different places separated by a broad river that was infested with crocodiles.

 

One day Laila heard that her Rama was dangerously ill with no one to nurse him. She rushed to the river bank and pleaded with the boatman to take her across, even though she did not have the money to pay him.

 

But the wicked boatman refused unless she agreed to sleep with him that night. The poor woman begged and pleaded with him to no avail, so in sheer desperation, she consented to the boatman’s terms.

 

When she finally got to Rama, she found him near to death. But she stayed with him for a month and nursed him back to health. One day Rama asked how she had managed to cross the river. Being incapable of lying to her beloved, she told him the truth.

 

When Rama heard her tale, he fell into rage, for he valued virtue more than life itself. He drove her out of the house and refused to look at her again.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Have we experienced the tremendous forgiving love of God? Are we able to share his forgiving love with those who have “wronged” us?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Jesus, our saving Lord, you have shown us the true meaning of forgiving love, especially upon the cross. Open our hearts to the flood of God’s forgiving love. Enable us to share the dew of his healing love upon those who have “wronged” us. Help us to let go of anger and resentment. Transform our brokenness to wholeness by your gift of forgiveness. Teach us to forgive “seventy times seven”. Grant us a merciful heart. Unite us all in the kingdom of God and let us experience the joy of eternal life. We thank you, dear Jesus, for your sacrificial death and the grace of salvation. You live and reign, forever and ever. Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“Moved with compassion the master of that servant let him go and forgave him.” (cf. Mt 18:27)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Forgive from the heart the one who offended or “wronged” you.

 

 

***

 

March 14, 2012 (Wednesday): LENTEN WEEKDAY (3)

“LENT: A Time to Fulfill the Meaning of the Law”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Dt 4:1,5-9 // Mt 5:17-19

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

Jesus did not come to do away with the Law of Moses and the teachings of the prophets, but to make their meaning come true.  The emendations he made were meant to bring to maturity the principles and practices of the Mosaic covenant and to make them more faithful to its basic intent, which is love. Jesus’ approach to the Law is very healthy and refreshing. His emphasis is on mercy, all-inclusive love and personal commitment and not on legalistic minutiae, petty details and external prohibitions. He wants to reap the richness and fruitfulness resulting from true obedience to the covenant. Jesus did this by his life-giving sacrifice on the cross.

 

Lent is a time of spiritual insight. The Lenten season is a privileged moment to delve into the Christian understanding of the Law, which is essentially a commandment of love. The Gospel command of love transcends mere legal observance. It demands true sacrifice and is exercised in the freedom and wisdom of the Holy Spirit.

 

The following story is a caricature of a perverse law observance and a powerful example of how one can follow the letter of the law while disregarding its meaning and intent (cf. Anthony De Mello, TAKING FLIGHT: A Book of Story Meditations: New York: Image Books, New York, 1988, p. 89-90).

 

Mullah Nasruddin found a diamond by the roadside but according to the Law, finders became keepers only if they first announced their find in the center of the marketplace on three separate occasions.

 

Now Nasruddin was too religious-minded to disregard the Law and too greedy to run the risk of parting with his find. So on three consecutive nights when he was sure that everyone was fast asleep he went to the center of the marketplace and there announced in a soft voice, “I have found a diamond on the road that leads to the town. Anyone knowing who the owner is should contact me at once.”

 

No one was the wiser for the Mullah’s words, of course, except for one man who happened to be standing at his window on the third night and heard the Mullah mumble something. When he attempted to find out what it was, Nasruddin replied, “I am in no way obliged to tell you. But this much I shall say: Being a religious man, I went out there at night to pronounce certain words in fulfillment of the Law.”

 

To be properly wicked, you do not have to break the Law. Just observe it to the letter.

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

Do I make an effort to understand the true meaning and purpose of the law? How do I put the Christian command of love into practice?

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO 

Lord Jesus, you are the Divine Master. You taught us the true meaning of the law and fulfilled the love covenant through your sacrifice on the cross. Give us the freedom of the Spirit. Fill us with spiritual wisdom that we may understand the meaning of the Gospel love command. Grant that we may fulfill it in the sacrifice of our daily life. We praise and love you, Law-giver and Law-fulfiller. You live and reign, forever and ever. Amen.

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“I have come not to abolish but to fulfill..” (cf. Mt 5:17b)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Today reflect on the role of traffic laws in society and on the role of the law in the Church. Let this realization impinge positively on your daily life.

 

 

***

 

 March 15, 2012 (Thursday): LENTEN WEEKDAY (3)

“LENT: A Time to Gather with Jesus”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Jer 7:23-28 // Lk 11:14-23

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

As Jesus journeys to the cross, the opposition intensifies. A crowd has just witnessed the exorcism of a demon. Some of them attributed his power to Beelzebul, the prince of demons. Others demanded further signs. Jesus retorted to the skeptical crowd that Satan is not so foolish as to allow infighting. A divided force will shatter. But Jesus is stronger than Satan and his army. He drives away demons by the “finger of God”. Jesus conquers evil and heals our afflictions through the power of God. He therefore challenged the crowd to gather with him. With regards to the ongoing cosmic conflict between good and evil, we need to fight for the sake of good with Jesus and by the “finger of God”. And with regards to the kingdom value that Jesus brings, we can not evade decisions. We cannot remain uncommitted. We cannot refuse to make sacrifices or take risks.  To refuse to gather with Jesus is to side with Satan. Indeed, a non-committal stance is self-destructive.

 

Lent is a time to gather with Jesus and renew our fundamental commitment for him. But our core decision for Christ necessitates self-renunciation. The following story is fascinating. It gives insight into the sacrificial aspect of loving and opting for Jesus Christ (cf. “The Slave Girl” in Anthony de Mello, The Song of the Bird, New York: Image Books, 1984, p. 158).

 

A Moslem king fell passionately in love with a slave girl and had her transferred from the slave quarters to the palace. He planned to marry her and make her his favorite wife, but, mysteriously, the girl fell seriously ill on the very day she entered the palace. She grew steadily worse. Every known remedy was given to her, but to no avail. The poor girl now hovered between life and death.

 

In despair the king made an offer of half of his kingdom to anyone who would cure her. But who would attempt to cure an illness that had baffled the best physicians of the realm? Finally a hakim appeared who asked to be allowed to see the girl alone. After he had spoken with her for an hour he appeared before the throne of the king who anxiously awaited his verdict.

 

“Your majesty”, said the hakim. “I do indeed have an infallible cure for the girl. And so sure I am of its effectiveness that, were it not to succeed, I should willingly offer myself to be beheaded. The medicine I propose, however, will prove to be an extremely painful one – not for the girl, but for Your Majesty.” “Mention the medicine”, shouted the king, “and it shall be given her, no matter the cost.”

 

The hakim looked at the king with compassionate eye and said, “The girl is in love with one of your servants. Give her permission to marry him and she will be instantly cured.”

 

Poor king! He wanted the girl too much to let her go. He loved her too much to let her die.

 

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

What is our response to Christ’s challenge: “Whoever is not with me is against me and whoever does not gather with me scatters”?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Loving Jesus, our strength against evil is derived from you. If we do not gather with you, we are doomed. If we choose not to commit ourselves to you and evade making a fundamental option for you, we are turning against you. We align ourselves completely with you that we may live. You cast out evil by the “finger of God”. United with you, we are victorious. We honor you with sacrificial love. We praise and thank you for the kingdom, the power and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

“Whoever is not with me is against me and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” (Lk 11:23)

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Make an effort to overcome self-destructive tendencies and addictions. Continue to fight against structuralized evil in the modern society.

 

 

 

***

 

 MARCH 16, 2012 (Friday): LENTEN WEEKDAY (3)

“LENT: A Time to Love God and Neighbor”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Hos 14:2-10 // Mk 12:28-34

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

The newspaper report about the alleged dumping of five discharged hospital patients in Los Angeles’ Skid Row saddened me. The dumping of the homeless patients is a symptom of a fragmented society that has failed in its task of loving and caring for one another. Today’s situation of social ills that need healing should be confronted by the Gospel message: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart … Love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

The true meaning of love of God and neighbor has been crystallized in the very life and person of Jesus, especially in his self-gift and sacrificial love on the cross. Because God, in his Son Jesus has loved us so much, we too are enabled to love. The commandments to love God and neighbor originate from the energizing, empowering love that the Lord has for us. In accepting God’ love for us, our commitment to love God and neighbor is made possible in a wholehearted way.

 

Lent is a grace-filled season for loving and serving God and neighbor. We must not be sparing in loving and serving God and neighbor, but must give all, otherwise we will be shortchanged. Rabindranath Tagore, the great Bengali poet, in his Gitanjali tells the story of a beggar going from door to door asking for alms. He suddenly sees his celestial king approaching in a chariot, and he dreams of the king showering upon him bountiful gifts. But to his surprise, the king asks him what he has to give. After staring, confused and undecided, he finally peers into his sack of meager possessions, takes out a tiny grain of corn, and gives it to the king. Later he says, “But how great my surprise when at the day’s end I emptied my bag on the floor to find a little grain of gold among the poor heap! I bitterly wept and wished that I had had the heart to give my all.

 

 

II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

Do we love God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind? Do we love him with everything we have: a love that is whole-hearted, dynamic, and carried out with conviction, courage and commitment? How do we carry out the fraternal and social aspect of the divine command to love? Do we love our neighbor as ourselves?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Lord Jesus you said: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind …You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

“This is my prayer to thee, my Lord – strike, strike at the penury in my heart. Give me strength never to disown the poor or bend my knees before insolent might, and give me the strength to surrender my strength to thy will with love.” (Rabindranath Tagore)

 

Lord Jesus you said: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind …You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

“Grant me to recognize in other men, Lord God, the radiance of your face.” (Teilhard de Chardin)

 

Lord Jesus you said: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind …You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

 

“Give us patience and fortitude to put self aside for you in the most unlikely people: to know that every man’s and any man’s suffering is our own first business, for which we must be willing to go out of our way and to leave our own interests.” (Caryll Houselander)

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

 

 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart … You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mk 12:30-31).

 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

Pray for the grace of perfect love for our neighbor. Offer a concrete act of charity on behalf of the poor, the marginalized and the lonely, and the victims of man-made and natural calamities.

 

 

***

 

March 17, 2012 (Saturday): SAINT PATRICK, Bishop, Optional Memorial

“LENT: A Time to Be Humble”

 

BIBLE READINGS

Hos 6:1-6 // Lk 18:9-14

 

 

I. BIBLICO-LITURGICAL REFLECTIONS: A Pastoral Tool for the LECTIO

 

The story entitled “The Brown Vest” in Guideposts Magazine (January 2004, cf. p. 70-73) presents a contrast of two characters: the retired engineer, John, who sat on the board of elders and the humble Harvey who served as pastor of the congregation. John worked hard. He served on committees. He gave generously, but he never let slip an opportunity to tell Pastor Harvey what he was doing wrong. “Your sermons aren’t spiritual enough”, was one recurring grievance against Pastor Harvey. Then there was the ever-touchy subject of church finances. John told Pastor Harvey at the board meeting: “We squander too much of our resources helping people who are better off learning to help themselves. We need to work more at spreading the gospel.” Pastor Harvey answered gently: “Of course, John. But I think we must also share with those who are less fortunate.” There was no doubt that the elder John was open and straight. One day the self-righteous John was diagnosed with cancer. Pastor Harvey visited him often in the hospital and at home where he returned for hospice care. One Friday afternoon before John was about to die, he motioned Pastor Harvey closer. He said, “You know, Pastor, for a guy who does so much wrong, you really aren’t a bad sort.”

 

Today’s Gospel parable (Lk 18:9-14) also presents a contrast of two characters: the self-righteous Pharisee and the repentant tax collector. The prayer of the Pharisee is directed to God but is self-centered. He thanks God that he is not like the tax collector, whom he regards as a sinner. The tax collector, by contrast, prostrates himself before God. He humbly prays: “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” The tax collector clings to no merit of his own, but simply begs God for mercy. The tax collector, and not the Pharisee, is in the right with God when he goes home. He receives God’s favor because in his humility he believes that God can be merciful to him and forgive him his sins. No human deeds could merit God’s merciful forgiveness. Only the sacrifice of the incarnate Son has that power. Because of Christ’s life-giving sacrifice, the Spirit bestows forgiveness on the humble. Lent invites us to take a humble stance before God because he humbles the proud and exalts the lowly.

.

 

 II. POINTS FOR THE EXAMINATION OF THE HEART: A Pastoral Tool for the MEDITATIO

 

In our relationship with God, what role do we usually play: the self-righteous Pharisee who enumerates his virtues and despises the sinner, or the repentant tax collector who beats his breast, praying: “O God, be merciful to me a sinner” (Lk 18:13)?

 

 

III. PRAYING WITH THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the ORATIO

 

Loving Father,

help us to be receptive to your Spirit

that we may realize the folly of trusting in our own merits.

Indeed, our self-confident boasting of “good deeds”

will not achieve our justification

nor merit your forgiveness.

Only the sacrifice of your Son on the cross

has the power to bestow forgiveness

and put us in a right relationship with you.

The gift of justification comes from you alone

and is given to the repentant heart.

Transform our insolence into openness to grace,

so that like the repentant tax collector,

we may go home to your welcoming arms

fully justified by the power of your love

and the saving sacrifice of your beloved Son, Jesus Christ,

the innocent suffering Righteous One on the cross.

We give glory and praise to you

now and forever.

Amen.

 

 

IV. INTERIORIZATION OF THE WORD: A Pastoral Tool for the CONTEMPLATIO

 

The following is the bread of the living Word that will nourish us throughout the day. Please memorize it.

            “The one who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Lk 18:14) 

 

V. TOWARDS LIFE TRANSFORMATION: A Pastoral Tool for the ACTIO

 

In a spirit of repentance, pray slowly and meaningfully three times the ancient-Jesus prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Pray for a person whom we have held in contempt. Ask the Lord forgiveness for despising another and for considering ourselves to be the better one.

 

 

***

 

 

Prepared by Sr. Mary Margaret Tapang  PDDM

 

 

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