Lectio Divina on ( 1 Corinthians 14 : 13 – 17 )   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.

There is no commentary on this particular excerpt from The Orthodox Study Bible the Commentary, however I took the liberty to find a brief commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas which reads, 841. – What am I to do? Because someone could say: inasmuch as prayer in a tongue is without fruit to the mind, but the spirit prays, should one then not pray in the spirit. Therefore, the Apostle answer this objection, saying that one should pray in both ways, in the spirit and in the mind; because man should serve God with all the things he has from God. But from God he has spirit and mind; therefore, he should pray with both: ‘With all his heart he will praise God’ (Sir 47:8). Therefore, he says: I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also. And so he says that he will pray and sing; because prayer is the beseeching of God, and so he says, I will pray, or it is praising Him, and so he says I will sing. Concerning these two (Jas 6:13) says: ‘Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is any cheerful? Let him sing.’ ‘Sing praises to the Lord’ (Ps 9:11). I will pray, therefore, in the spirit, i.e., imagination, and with the mind, i.e., the will.”

1 Cor 14:13-14

“And therefore he that speaks by a tongue, let him pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays: but my understanding is without fruit.”

As I read this particular excerpt the one topic that came most to mind was the relationship between Obedience and Listening. I have read elsewhere that truly the word Obey means to Listen, more to the point, it’s not a passive listening but an Active Listening and Acting on what is said. I know personally in my own prayer life, sometimes I do zone out and lose focus while in the middle of some spiritual work. The reason I think is exemplified in this Lectio Divina, because there are times when: (1) I read something and because of pride I am taken back by what I have to say, thus cutting off an opportunity to understand. (2) There is something I do not yet fully know or understand and when I have to say it my mind jumps into critical-curiosity mode, thus interrupting the flow of any understanding that may try to come into my awareness. (3) I become filled with sentiments that interrupt my ability to understand and focus on the spiritual work. When it comes to Scenario #3 these sentiments are superficial, they are not sentiments rooted in understanding, but just emotions that I have tried my best to detach myself from prior to any spiritual communion I partake in, yet what happens is they revisit in an attempt to interrupt that communion.

1 Cor 14:15

“What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, I will pray also with the understanding, I will sing with the spirit, I will sing also with the understanding.”

I wish I knew about Lectio Divina when I was a kid because, this would have meant the world to me! When I contemplated upon this further, the Apostle makes it very clear that Prayer ought not to be done in a dry mechanistic and ignorant manner, when I was a child this is all I thought Prayer was, for I didn’t know what the prayers meant at their depths, only what I recited in a repetitive, superficial and more or less literal manner. As I got older this repetitive, superficial literalist manner I came to reject and sought after Contemplation and Reflection. The Apostle here seems to endorse Contemplation and Reflection upon what it is we say, pray, and sing and this is important, I wish I knew this when I was younger for if I had I probably wouldn’t have left the Church which is filled with Godly Men and Women who have volumes upon volumes; correspondences upon correspondences; and books upon books of Biblical Commentary. Read the commentaries, understand the different level of Biblical Interpretation, write about it, live it, learn from your own experiences in your life with the Mystical Body of Christ that is The Church.

1 Cor 14:16-17

“Else, if you shall bless with the spirit, how shall he that holds the place of the unlearned say, Amen, to your blessing? Because he knows not what you say. For you indeed give thanks well: but the other is not edified.”

One of the more humorous ironies of Modern Evangelicals Christians in America today is that they think they know what they are talking about and then they evangelize people in a manner where they assume the person is either well-read into it or treat them like they as if they were born with a handicap. However, the Apostle Paul makes it very clear that he endorse the position of informing the uninformed who are curious to understand more about the authentic tradition or to defend against the uninformed who would attack the authentic tradition. Since Modern Evangelical Christians are not the Authentic Tradition, and since some would attack the Authentic Tradition, the Apostle Paul affirms the need to meet them where they are and lead them into the fullness of understanding. When it comes to all uninformed whether they be Modern Evangelicals, Militant Atheists, or even members (regardless of how long they’ve been there) of the Authentic Tradition we would need to assume they want to know more about the Authentic Tradition of Christ and His Church even if they charge us ignorantly with things that are misunderstood whether in part or in full. Therefore, St. Paul like St. Peter encourages us to help others understand by Informing and Defending the Authentic Faith, in a manner that Speaks the Truth in Love and with Militant Conviction.

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