LECTIO DIVINA: Mary Mother of God, Cycle C
Translated by Fray Hubert M. Decena, OAR
Lk. 2: 16-21.
A. Invoking 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, 40) Amen.
With heart well disposed, with serenity, read slowly the following words, savoring them and allowing yourself to be touched by them.
16 So the shepherds went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. 18 All who heard it were amazed by what had been told then by the shepherds. 19 And Mary kept all these things reflecting on them in her heart. 20 Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them. 21 When eight days were completed for his circumcision, he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
Let us now meditate with the commentary of St. Augustine o these words of the Gospel according to St. Luke.
“What day is it today? –It is the day of birth. Whose? –Of the Lord. Does he have a day of birth? –He has. The Word who existed in the beginning, God with God, does he have a birthday? –Yes, he has. If he did not have human generation, we would not have arrived at divine regeneration: he was born in order that we may have rebirth. Let no one doubt about this rebirth: Christ was born; he was generated, but he did not have to be regenerated. Who needed regeneration except he whose generation was condemned? Let his mercy be present in our hearts. His mother carried him in her womb; let us bear him in our hearts; the Virgin was pregnant for the incarnation of Christ, let our hearts be pregnant with faith in Chris; She gave birth to the Savior; let us give birth to praise. Let us not be sterile; Let us allow God to make our souls fertile. The birth of Christ from the Father was without a mother; his birth of a mother was without a father; both were amazing. The first was eternal, the second was temporal. When was he born of the Father? What does “when” mean? You seek “when” there where you will find no time? Do not look for “when” there. Look for it here. Rightly do you ask for a “when” referring to his birth from his mother; wrongly in reference to his birth from the Father: he was born, and without time; he was born the eternal from the eternal, being co-eternal. Why are you amazed? He is God. Consider that you deal with the divinity, and the reason to be amazed disappears. You are also amazed when we say that he was born of a Virgin. Marvelous! He is God, let it not cause admiration; from admiration pass on to praise. Let faith be present; believe that it did happen. If you do not believe, the fact did happen, but you remain in your disbelief. He deigned to become man, what more do you want? O did God empty himself little for you? He who was God became man. The stable was too narrow; wrapped in swaddling clothes he put in a manger. You listened when the Gospel was read. Who does not admire? He who fills the whole universe did not find but in a stable; placed in a manger he became food for us. Two animals approach the manger, that is, two peoples, because the ox recognized its owner and the donkey the manger of its master. Pay attention to the manger; do not be ashamed to be a beast for the Lord. You will carry Christ, you will not stray when you go along the road; the Way is seated on you. Do You remember the donkey offered to the Lord? Let no one be ashamed: that donkey we are. Let the Lord be seated on us; let him call us to go wherever he wishes. We are his ride, let us go to Jerusalem. While he is seated, he does not crush us, rather he elevates us; having him as guide, we do not stray; let us travel by him, we shall not perish” (s. 189, 3-4).
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. “Mary, for her part, kept all these things meditating on them in her heart” (Lk. 2:19).
- What is needed in order to keep and meditate in our hearts the events of our life?
- How can you imitate the example of Mary?
b. “The shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all that they had seen and heard” (Lk. 2:20).
- Why is it important to praise and glorify God?
- From your encounter with Jesus and Mary this Christmas, what profit for your life do you take out? What testimony do you give?
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 how the Virgin Mary observes how the shepherds narrate all that the angels had said about the Child Jesus, and how she keeps and meditates all these things in her heart. Contemplate Mary and learn from her school of silence, prayer and adoration.
b. Contemplate the jubilation and the joy of the shepherds. With them, live
the happiness over the birth of Christ, and make of this contemplation, as the shepherds did, a moment of praise and glorification of God for the marvels he does for the world.
Think of everything that you can share with those around you about the experience you had with God, especially about the figure of Mary and the jubilation of the shepherds. The following points can help you share with your community the experience of the lectio divina on the 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?
Final Prayer of St. Augustine.
Turning towards the Lord: Lord God, Father Almighty, with 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 you deign to hear our petitions according to your goodwill, that by your power you may drive away the enemy from all our thoughts and actions, that you increase our faith, govern our mind and 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, one God, forever and ever. Amen (en. Ps. 150:8).