be not afraid…

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” -Joshua 1:9

Day 4…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) thoughts and ask you. If you do not already use Lectio, I encourage you to try it along with me. 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 the gospel of Jeremiah 20:10-13.

Step 1: Lectio or reading. We become familiar with the scene, the culture, the people and the action or movement of the message.

I hear the whisperings of many: “Terror on every side! Denounce! let us denounce him!” All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine. “Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail and take our vengeance on him.”
But the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph. In their failure they will be put to utter shame, to lasting, unforgettable confusion. O Lord of hosts, you who test the just, who probe mind and heart,let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause.
Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, For he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked!

*******

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

I hear the whisperings of many: “Terror on every side! Denounce! let us denounce him!” All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine. “Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail and take our vengeance on him.”
But the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph. In their failure they will be put to utter shame, to lasting, unforgettable confusion. O Lord of hosts, you who test the just, who probe mind and heart, let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause.
Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, For he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked!

The phrase that stuck out to me is entrusted my cause.

*******

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.

I hear the whisperings of many: “Terror on every side! Denounce! let us denounce him!” All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine. “Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail and take our vengeance on him.”
But the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph. In their failure they will be put to utter shame, to lasting, unforgettable confusion. O Lord of hosts, you who test the just, who probe mind and heart, let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause.
Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, For he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked!

 It always amazes me that words written two thousand years ago are so alive today. Want to see this story unfold? Watch the evening news. Whom can we blame? At whom can we point a finger. Let’s be quick to point out faults and work them to our advantage. If you are in the midst of this kind of attack, help from the Lord cannot come quickly enough. But, as Bishop Braxton likes to say, “Our ways are not God’s ways and God’s ways are not ours.” And so, we must entrust our cause to the Lord, knowing that he, in his infinite wisdom, will deal with it according to his will and timeline.

*******

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.

I hear the whisperings of many: “Terror on every side! Denounce! let us denounce him!” All those who were my friends are on the watch for any misstep of mine. “Perhaps he will be trapped; then we can prevail and take our vengeance on him.”
But the Lord is with me, like a mighty champion: my persecutors will stumble, they will not triumph. In their failure they will be put to utter shame, to lasting, unforgettable confusion. O Lord of hosts, you who test the just, who probe mind and heart, let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause.
Sing to the Lord, praise the Lord, For he has rescued the life of the poor from the power of the wicked!

*****

**God does not want us to be afraid. In his homily this morning, Fr. Adrian Burke, from St. Meinrad Archabbey, mentioned looking up the phrase, “Do not be afraid” and finding that it in the Bible 27 times. Then he looked up similar phrases and found that “fear not” in various forms is in the Bible over 500 times. God is telling us over and over again, to place our trust in him and do not be afraid, for he is with us.

God, give me the strength to release my “causes” to your loving care. When I am under attack, help me refrain from retaliation and allow you to work in me and through me for your good. Grant us the patience and wisdom to wait on you. Amen.

 

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1 thought on “be not afraid…

  1. “Grant us the wisdom and patience to wait on you.” So hard to wait on God sometimes, no matter how much past evidence I have of what happens when I act in my time and not his.

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