Lectio Divina on (Psalm 46 : 1 – 4 ; 9 – 11)   1 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.

According to The Orthodox Study Bible the Commentary reads for this section, “Hatred can now cease, through the Death and Resurrection of Our Lord, for through that event God’s Grace was opened up onto the whole world. The Peaceful Stillness of Prayer replaced the troubles and anger of warring nations.”

Psalm 46:1–4

“Our God is our refuge and strength: a helper in troubles, which have found us exceedingly. Therefore we will not fear, when the earth shall be troubled; and the mountains shall be removed into the heart of the sea. Their waters roared and were troubled: the mountains were troubled with his strength.”

Upon reading this section the teaching is more straightforward yet even still much Wisdom can be distilled. Over the past month, I personally was dealing with more agitation than normal; because of this agitation I fell pretty deeply into sin and felt a profound sense of existential darkness. This darkness was certainly distressing to me and caused me to go all the more, deeper. The point here is that if you allow agitation to lay hold of you, then a vicious cycle of negativity begins. The message here is clear do not allow yourself to be Agitated in times of Upheaval, we do this by knowing that God is our Refuge and Strength, go to Him for He is a helper when trouble occurs. Even when you sin, it is still right a proper to ask of Christ His Peace, for Christ did this for The Apostles, He will certainly do this for you.

One also gets the impression from this that, to allow oneself to be Agitated is to live a life ultimately rooted in Fear, and Fear is a close relative of Loneliness. For consider what would happen if one believed they had no “helper in troubles,” if they were truly alone they would truly be lost in the tumult of violent waters and the violent upheaval of mountains. Fear makes one feel lonely, because Fear has us focus solely on ourselves, look at a phobia you have, look back to a time when you were really at the mercy of the phobia when it showed up, did you not feel alone, like as if it was only you and the phobia that existed and nothing else?

For example, I know when I was a child I had a phobia toward Wasps, not just a simple rational fear but a phobia, as soon as a Wasp flew into the room I lost focus on everything else except on where the Wasp was. I felt alone in this disturbing encounter with the Wasp, for it disturbed my peace. The Wasp although small and easily could be squashed made me (because of my Fear) feel like I was the one who was powerless and weak. God in His Wisdom, allowed me (once I came of a certain age however) to get stung by a wasp, and although discomforting, that was the worst of the experience that could be had, and I thanked God for it, for from that point on I saw that I was not severely allergic to the Wasp (for that was a factor of my phobia) and look I am still alive, for a few years have passed since that experience.

So what’s the point? First of all, God is with us even when we think we are alone and may want us to endure a difficulty that we put so much energy in avoiding to show that there is nothing to fear. Second of all, while Fear is the mother of Loneliness, Trust is the mother of Cooperation and Awareness. This Awareness is liberating, making us aware that we are not alone even when we seem to be in the grips of something that feels so much more powerful than us. Through this Awareness we can Cooperate and overcome a difficulty with the help of another, truly Love helps us transcend our difficulties and put them in a more realistic proportion.

Psalm 46: 9–11

“Come and behold the works of the Lord: what wonders he has done upon earth, making wars to cease even to the end of the earth. He shall destroy the bow, and break the weapons: and the shield he shall burn in the fire. Be still and see that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, and I will be exalted in the earth.”

In reading this excerpt from Scripture I felt compelled to make this more specific and less abstract. I can consider “what wonders he has done upon earth” abstractly with the literal biosphere or I can consider the same but apply it toward my own life. For example, how many times through my own sinfulness and stupidity as a teenager should I have died? More than one occasion could be named, yet I am still alive. How many times have I tried to find something truly effective for changing my life? Too many, yet I have found what is most effective. What about the environment I was born into and raised under, what about my particular station in life, and what about my experiences? For surely, they have made me into the person I am today. Consider these operations of Grace and anything else that grabs your attention in your own memory as well.

Upon doing so now consider, the Works of the Lord, be Awe-struck at the peculiar ways God works through, with, and around you. Most of us would feel, rightly, a sense of unworthiness, when we get things we didn’t merit it. These gifts have their purposes; through a second chance a person can learn the value of what’s really important in life. Through finding something that is truly more inspiring than you ever knew since, can help raise you up out of one level of living into a more sublime level and such profoundness is something to be valued and treasured. Rightfully, even a gift that comes out of the blue completely unjustified even to minds that are susceptible to pride can serve as a means for deepening humility and appreciation.
Finally, and this goes back to the previous scripture verse, all these things are attained in Stillness, in Silence. To assume or take in agitation into your Heart, will disrupt that spiritual flow that is within you and you will in short order sin.

To illustrate this point, I know that in my own life there have been times when I am at work (I work in Retail/Sales/Customer Service since 2006) and it gets awfully busy, it’s the worst when your alone and you have 10 people you need to ring up. Now when I first started in Retail I got all flustered-agitated whenever this happened and no one came up to help me, I was unable to perform the tasks that you need to go through when ringing up and helping customers. Eventually, someone gave me some retail/sales advice that I never let go of (focus only on the person in front of you), and this advice helped because even though the experience of having to ring 10 people from time to time can never be escaped, what it allowed me to do was hold back the feelings of agitation and frustration from getting so deep into me that I could no longer function.

This is what Sin is, an error, a lack of what is supposed to be there. So it is with God and the Spiritual Life, if you allow the existential angst and agitation of living to dig deep into you, you’ll not be able to function not be able to focus and let the spontaneous flow continually occur, it would be like abrupt jerking motions instead of a flow. The Christian needs a time for Stillness and Silence, that the creature maybe able to commune and embody the life of the Spirit.

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