how long…

Good morning…I pray that you are all doing well and staying safe during this pandemic. For the next week, I’m going to share with you my daily Lectio Divina (Divine Reading) time. If you do not already use Lectio Divina, I encourage you to try it along with me and  then share your insights. I’ll either use the first reading or the Gospel from Mass and will list the scripture, along with the steps below. I find it is helpful to read the scripture aloud, slowly.

Thank you and I look forward to your insights and comments.

The prayer I use before I begin is:

Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.

Today I chose the first reading which comes from Numbers 21:4-9.

Step 1: Lectio or reading. We become familiar with the scene, the culture, the people and the action or movement of the message. (No action is needed after this first reading…just take a few quiet moments before moving on to step 2)

From Mount Hor, they set out by way of the Red Sea, to bypass the land of Edom, but the people’s patience was worn out by the journey; so the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

So, the LORD sent among the people seraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of the Israelites died. Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray to the LORD to take the serpents from us.” So, Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses: Make a seraph and mount it on a pole, and everyone who has been bitten will look at it and recover. Accordingly, Moses made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever the serpent bit someone, the person looked at the bronze serpent and recovered.

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Step 2: Meditatio or meditation. Read the passage a second time and identify a word or phrase that speaks to you.

From Mount Hor, they set out by way of the Red Sea, to bypass the land of Edom, but the people’s patience was worn out by the journey; so the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

So, the LORD sent among the people seraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of the Israelites died. Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray to the LORD to take the serpents from us.” So, Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses: Make a seraph and mount it on a pole, and everyone who has been bitten will look at it and recover. Accordingly, Moses made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever the serpent bit someone, the person looked at the bronze serpent and recovered.

The phrase that stuck out to me is against God

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Step 3: Oratio or prayer. Read the passage a third time and pray and listen for God speaking to you through the word or phrase.

From Mount Hor, they set out by way of the Red Sea, to bypass the land of Edom, but the people’s patience was worn out by the journey; so the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

So, the LORD sent among the people seraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of the Israelites died. Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray to the LORD to take the serpents from us.” So, Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses: Make a seraph and mount it on a pole, and everyone who has been bitten will look at it and recover. Accordingly, Moses made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever the serpent bit someone, the person looked at the bronze serpent and recovered. 

I reflected on the difference between complaining, which is human nature and to complain against God. The Israelites were not praying for relief nor were they expressing dissatisfaction in general. They were blaming God instead of remembering his love for them, the fact that they had been freed by him from their oppressors or that God was leading them towards the land he had promised.

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The fourth step is Contemplatio or contemplation. Read the scripture for the final time and just rest with God and be with him and his word.

From Mount Hor, they set out by way of the Red Sea, to bypass the land of Edom, but the people’s patience was worn out by the journey; so the people complained against God and Moses, “Why have you brought us up from Egypt to die in the wilderness, where there is no food or water? We are disgusted with this wretched food!”

So, the LORD sent among the people seraph serpents, which bit the people so that many of the Israelites died. Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned in complaining against the LORD and you. Pray to the LORD to take the serpents from us.” So, Moses prayed for the people, and the LORD said to Moses: Make a seraph and mount it on a pole, and everyone who has been bitten will look at it and recover. Accordingly, Moses made a bronze serpent and mounted it on a pole, and whenever the serpent bit someone, the person looked at the bronze serpent and recovered.

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As we conclude, the thought occurred to me that God did not take away the serpents but gave the people an opportunity to turn to him for forgiveness and healing. Like the Israelites, we do not know how long this journey of the pandemic will last. What will our economy be when it is over? Will we have jobs? Our homes? How long will this journey be?

Merciful Father in heaven, we do not know the answer to these questions, but we take great comfort knowing that we are not on this journey alone. Forgive us when we complain and let us instead, bring our concerns to you in productive ways, through prayer and supplication. God, our strength and comfort, continue to lead us each day and may our eyes remain focused on you and not distracted by the storm swirling around us. Amen.

2 thoughts on “how long…

  1. I liked the prayer at the end. I try every day to remember how blessed we are. I believe that God is in the midst of this trouble and will guide us safely through to the end.

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