Lectio Divina on (Matthew 7 : 7 – 12)   Leave a comment

Introduction

This series is my Lectio Divina, or Divine Reading series, in this series I am going to present to you the reader my experiences with applying Lectio Divina to certain scripture excerpts. Lectio Divina is called Divine Reading for a reason; for it is more contemplative then the typical and casual reading that most people do in a busy day. Divine Reading is meant to speak to your whole being rather than solely the intellectual part of your being. Certain excerpts are large, so they were broken up into smaller pieces to respect the key contemplative aspect of this ancient practice; these are the notes which I made in light of each Lectio Divina reading. I used the Orthodox Study Bible for Reading and for its commentary on scriptural entries in order to begin the first and move into the second part of the process.

Matthew 7:7-8

“Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asks, receives: and he that seeks, finds: and to him that knocks, it shall be opened.”

To Paraphrase the Entry from The Orthodox Study Bible it reads, “The verbs Ask, Seek, and Knock are in Present Progressives. Note the Synergy our effort is commanded, but never apart from the immediate help of God. We Ask in Prayer, We seek by Learning, and We Knock by Acting.”

Upon meditating the relevance of the excerpt to my life, I had been given a strong impression that, it is not enough to just ask for what you want; you need to pursue what you’re after while asking. The Word found in Scripture counter-acted my terrible habit for procrastination and the laziness associated with the false and rare hope that those who just sit-and-wait will just have what they want fall into their lap with minimal effort on their part. It’s not to say of course, that this effort is bad, for if the end sought is good and in line with the Eternal End of God then this Effort, this labor, is truly a Labor of Love something to be enjoyed.

Also while doing Lectio Divina upon this excerpt I realized that it aided in the integration of my ongoing Law of Attraction (LoA) and Catholicism reconciliation, despite the fact that I [wrote out a 4-Part Paper] I am still working to fully integrate the 2 together. The realization was that, when you put that desire out there and if it manifests then you know it is of God but you must continue working toward it, for working on a desire is the refining process of that desire. Some of us will just be content once we get something and treat the method of attracting things like pushing a button, but it’s more like keeping your finger on that button until it can be offered over to others, when you can do that then you know for sure that this desire is from God. The question is how long can you hold it until you realize that said desire is not desirable anymore?

Of course, another relevant insight that came to me from this contemplation helped me to personally overcome my childhood understanding of Catholicism and Religion as it relates to Desire and my more adult understandings. The insight is this that, the energy around desire is a morally neutral thing in and of itself; it’s the intent that gives the moral Good or Evil. For if the energy around desire and the desire for things that are a part of our God-Given Nature were bad and unnatural then He would tell us not to ask, but we tells us to ask for we have desires and longings. Understanding is what motivates Those Who Seek; Action and Conviction is what motivates those who Knock, these things are good things too, for its what we are trying to understand, to act in the name of, and have conviction in that calls in the Moral Good or Evil.

In the end our Longings manifest by our Intentions, our Anticipation or the energy behind a desire, the knowledge we seek so that way we may seek out understanding in order to remove doubt and increase in wisdom both practical and spiritual, and finally the Conviction needed to Act because we feel a strong surge of energy to realize the desire. So long as the Desire is Lawful then it is only going to lift us up. In light of this Lectio Divina contemplation I Definitely feel a Stronger Sense of Integration between LoA and Catholic Thought.

Matthew 7:9-11

“Or what man is there among you, of whom if his son shall ask bread, will he reach him a stone? Or if he shall ask him a fish, will he reach him a serpent? If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more will your Father who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him?”

In this entry the paraphrase commentary from the Orthodoxy Study Bible reads, “Man is called evil not to be negative and hateful, but rather to declare that despite our imperfect wills which have mingled with error if we know and can do what is good in a limited way, how much more Good can God who is Perfectly Good do?”

Upon meditating the relevance of The Word in Scripture to my life I have realized that, so long as our Desires Are Lawful, being Rooted in Honest Yearning, are of a Pure Intention, and so long as the subsequent actions taken do not violate God’s Law then we ought not feel bad, guilty, or ashamed for having the desire and we can pursue the desire with all excitement, anticipation, and passion. This proved liberating to me, largely because (I must confess that) upon Sacramentally returning back to the Church, a feeling of being somewhat Apathetic toward my life and my goals in a melancholic sense had overshadowed me, such melancholy I did not want to attribute to God but felt tempted to do so, in light of this reading I felt liberated from the temptation to attribute the Melancholy to God and now it is clear where it truly comes from.

I also realized that, while men may aim for some good for desires that maybe short or long term, and while God may provide for such desires to manifest too, man being imperfect typically limits his happiness only to this life, but if we were to re-order our desires so that way we may be in alignment with things in the eternal then we may pursue with the animating power of Love and Life. This idea of Desire, Happiness, and the varying levels of Enlightened Priorities has resonance in the works of Fr. Robert Spitzer S.J. Perhaps this can convey in part what I mean by reordering to the Eternal.

Although Intellectually I understood the idea that, only God can give us that which is completely fulfilling, and that everything else from everyone else will always fall short and disappoint us, I still felt disconnected from this notion in my heart, but I believe by applying the Lectio Divina reading to this excerpt, I have planted the seed so that I may intuitively understand the phrase, and in time utter wisely and humbly the phrase of St. Augustine that, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.”

Matthew 7:12

“All things therefore whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do also to them. For this is the law and the prophets.”

In this entry to paraphrase the commentary from the Orthodoxy Study Bible it would read, “The Golden Rule fulfills the demands of the Law and The Prophets, for the Jews knew in the negative the Golden Rule through The Silver Rule, this is the action the leads us to spiritual growth for it is what leads us closer to God.”

While contemplating the relevance of the Written Word found in Scripture I came to the awareness of the Golden Rule Formula: If You Want X, Then Do X First and you will be given X in Abundance. So for example, if you want Love, Then Give Love and You Will in Time Be Given More Love in Abundance. If you want Riches, Then Share Your Riches and You Will in Time Be Given More Riches. If you want Understanding, Then Share Your Understanding and In Time You Will Be Filled With even more abundant Understanding.

Using the Silver Rule as an example, it is not enough to say, “If You Don’t Want Y, Then Don’t Do Y” for no one goes anywhere, they simply stay where they are and there is peace and order but its only part of the puzzle, since by going the extra mile willingly and joyfully through the more expressive Golden Rule by making yourself vulnerable you will see that a way is made so that what you long for will be realized. In the Golden Rule, the Silver Rule is sustained and transfigured, now you have Order and Peace with Love and Life in Abundance.

Therefore, if you want it, then come and take it, your first move is a move of symbolic dedication to wanting what it is that you desired. Jesus knew of the Virtue and Blessing of Willingly and Joyfully Going the Extra Mile for he tells us to use this principle when it comes to Non-Violent Resistance, but surely He would know that going the Extra Mile is also part of the Divine Life as well. So I say surrender Fear, for those with Love and Passion for anything will not let doubt interfere in their mission, their vocation, their joy, and the ultimate joy being their life through, with, and in God.

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