LECTIO DIVINA: Pentecost Sunday, Cycle B
Translated by Fray Dunstan Huberto Decena, OAR
A. INVOCATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
WE INVOKE THE HOLY SPIRIT USING THE WORDS OF ST. AUGUSTINE
Come, Holy Spirit, by whom every devout soul, who believes in Christ, is sanctified to become a citizen of the City of God! (en. Ps. 45:8) Come, Holy Spirit, grant that we receive the motions of God; put in us your flame; enlighten us and raise us up to God (s. 128, 4). Amen.
WITH THE HEART WELL DISPOSED, WITH SERENITY, READ SLOWLY THE FOLLOWING WORDS, SAVORING THEM AND ALLOWING YOURSELF TO BE TOUCHED BY THEM.
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
LET US MEDITATE NOW WITH THE COMMENTARY OF ST. AUGUSTINE ON THESE WORDS OF THE GOSPEL AC- CORDING TO ST. JOHN.
When the doors were locked, where the disciples were gathered, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. In fact, the nails had pierced the hands, the spear had opened his side, where the marks of the wounds had been preserved to heal the hearts of those who doubted. On the other hand, for the bulk of the body where the divinity was, the closed doors were no obstacle; in fact without them being opened that body could enter, just as at its birth the virginity of his Mother remained intact.
The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. He told them again: “Peace be with you.” The repetition is a confirmation; truly, he himself gives peace upon peace, promised through the prophets. As the Father sent me, he says, so do I send you. We know that the Son is equal to the Father, but here we recognize the words of the Mediator because he shows himself as intermediary, saying: “He sent me, I also send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” Breathing, he indicated that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit not only of the Father, but also his.
The sins of those you have forgiven, are forgiven, he affirms, and they are retained for those whose sins you have retained. The charity of the Church, which through the Holy Spirit is poured into our hearts, forgives the sins of his companions (those who are in the Catholic Church); on the other hand, he retains the sins of those who are not his companions. That is why, after having said: “Receive the Holy Spirit,” immediately he added this regarding the forgiveness and the retention of sins. (Io. eu. tr. 121, 4).
WITH THE TEXT, LET US NOW PRAY FROM THE DEPTHS OF OUR HEART. I SUGGEST THE FOLLOWING PHRASES AND QUESTIONS THAT CAN AWAKEN IN YOU DIALOGUE WITH GOD, AND AT THE SAME TIME CAN GIVE RISE TO AFFECTIONS AND SENTIMENTS IN YOUR DIALOGUE WITH GOD. DO NOT MOVE TO THE NEXT PHRASE OR QUESTION IF YOU CAN STILL CONTINUE DIALOGUING WITH GOD IN ONE OF THEM. IT IS NOT A MATTER OF EXHAUSTING THE LIST, BUT OF HELPING YOU TO PRAY WITH SOME POINTS THAT BETTER FIT YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.
a. “Peace be with you.” The repetition is a confirmation; in fact, he himself gives the peace upon peace.” (Io. eu. tr. 121, 4).
•How do you live the gift of peace?
•How do you build the peace in your community with the help of the Spirit?
b. “Then he breathed upon them and said to them: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (Jn. 20:23).
•In your life, how is the presence of the Holy Spirit manifested? •Why is the Spirit the gift of Christ and of the Father?
I PROPOSE TO YOU SOME POINTS FOR AFFECTIVE INTERIOR CONTEMPLATION. ONCE AGAIN, YOU NEED NOT FOLLOW ALL OF IT, RATHER YOU CAN CHOOSE WHAT FITS YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE.
a. Contemplate Christ breathing upon you as he did on the apostles and he invites you to relive and rekindle the presence of the Spirit in your life. Ask Christ to let you be guided by his Spirit of love and peace.
b. Contemplate how Christ puts his own Spirit in your heart. Contemplate and experience the joy of knowing that your life is animated by this Divine Guest. Pray and be grateful for the gift of the of the Holy Spirit.
THINK OF EVERYTHING THAT YOU CAN SHARE WITH THOSE AROUND YOU ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE YOU HAD WITH GOD, ESPECIALLY CONCERNING THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST AND THE UNIVERSAL JUDGMENT. THE FOLLOWING POINTS CAN HELP YOU AS GUIDE TO SHARE WITH YOUR COMMUNITY THE EXPERIENCE OF THE LECTIO DIVINA ON THIS TEXT.
• What have I discovered about God and about myself in this moment of prayer?
• How can I apply this text of Scripture at this moment of my life? What light does it give me? What challenges does it put before me?
• What concrete commitment does this text of Scripture ask of me in my spiritual life, in my community life?
• What has been my dominant sentiment during this moment of prayer?
G. FINAL PRAYER OF ST. AUGUSTINE
Turning towards the Lord: Lord God, Father Almighty, with a pure heart, as far as our littleness permits, allow us to give you our most devoted and sincere thanks, begging with all our strength from your particular goodness, that by your power you may drive away the enemy from all our thoughts and actions; that you may increase our faith, govern our mind, give us spiritual thoughts, and bring us to your happiness, through your Son Jesus Christ, our Lord, who with you lives and reigns, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen (en, Ps. 150:8).