LECTIO DIVINA: Baptism of the Lord, Cycle B
Translated by Fray Dunstan Huberto Decena, OAR
A. Invoking the Holy Spirit.
We invoke the Holy Spirit in 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.
And this is what he proclaimed: “One mightier than I is coming after me. I am not worthy to stoop and loosen the thongs of his sandals. I have baptized you with water; he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
Let us now meditate with the commentary of St. Augustine on these words of the Gospel according to St. Mark.
We become aware that by the Jordan river, our God presents himself in his Trinitarian Being. Jesus arrived and was baptized by John, the Lord by his servant, an action that has for its objective to give us an example of humility. Actually when John said: I ought to be baptized by you and you come to me? he replied: Let it be for now that all justice may be fulfilled, he showed us that it is in humility that justice is fulfilled. Thus, once baptized, the heavens were opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove; then came a voice from above: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Here, therefore, we have the Trinity with a certain distinction of Persons: in the voice the Father, in the man the Son; in the dove the Holy Spirit. Certainly it was necessary to remember it because it was very easy to see it. Therefore, with all evidence, and without place for a scruple of doubt, the Trinity is being presented, because Christ himself, the Lord, who comes to John is the form of servant, is certainly the Son; he cannot be considered the Father nor the Holy Spirit. It says: Jesus came: certainly he is the Son of God. As regards the dove, Who can doubt it? Or who may say: “What is the dove?” when the Gospel itself very clearly testifies; The Holy Spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove? Similarly, as regards the voice, there is no doubt at all that it is of the Father, because it says: You are my Son. Therefore, we have the Trinity with the distinction of Persons (s 52, 1).
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. “You are my beloved Son, in you I am well pleased” (Mk. 1:11).
- What does it mean that Christ is the favorite and the beloved Son of the Father?
- From baptism, we are sons of God. How can you apply these words of the Gospel to your own life (to be the favorite and beloved Son of the Father)
b. “If you do not tread with humble foot the path of humility, you will not be able to arrive at the summit to which it leads” (s. 292, 3).
- Why is humility necessary in your life?
- How can you be more humble?
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 going down to the river to be baptized. Contemplate his humility. Ask that you too can be humble.
b. Contemplate how God pronounces the words: “You are my beloved, in whom I am well pleased” upon Christ, and also upon you. Verify what sentiments and affections surge up in your heart and soul as you interiorly hear these words pronounced upon you.
Think of everything that you can share with those around you about the experience you had with God, especially about being the favorite and beloved son of the Father. 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 you particular goodness, that your 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).