Theology and Lectio Divina

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Theology and Lectio, Conference #6, (Conference #2 not recorded)

AI Summary: 





A shift, a new relationship will begin with the Lord insofar as our prayer will not be more the fruit of our intention, of our will, I will, to pray. But it will become an answer to the cry of the spirit within us. I reply to the God's Word. In this sense, I speak about a new prayer, a new prayer. First of all, let us begin to discover the secret place of prayer. We read in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 6, number 6. 6-6, Matthew.


Be careful for this verse, because it's small, it's short, but very, very important for us. Please. Whenever you pray, go to your room, close your door, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees what no man sees, will repay you. Thank you. Yeah, another translation? When you pray in your private room, shut yourself in, so pray to your Father who is in the secret place. Your Father who sees all that's done in secret will reward you. Thank you. It seems to me that three kinds of interpretation are possible of this text. Three kinds of interpretation. The first interpretation understands these words of Jesus in a concrete sense. According to this interpretation, we can experience the joy of the self.


Go to your private room. What is room in monastic life? It's the self. We can experience the joy of the self. And through silence and solitude, when you have shut your door, through silence and solitude, our prayer will be able to taste the secret presence of the Father. This is the first interpretation. The second interpretation is more personal, more personal. The private room is understood like the cell of the heart. It's not the material cell. Because I can be in a plane, and there I can pray. Of course.


Fourteen hours of sleep from Europe. Okay, I read, I hear music. And in this case, the plane is my cell. No, my heart. The private room is understood in the second interpretation as the cell of the heart. I use the word heart in a Biblical sense. In fact, for the Bible, the heart is the source of thoughts, desires, and deeds. And a man is what his heart is. Go to your private room means then, according to this second interpretation, dwell your heart. Know your heart.


And when you have shut your door, that is, when you have purified your eyes, you will be able to see God. In this second interpretation, the place of meeting is the heart, but our heart is not pure. And for this reason, I have a need of work, of purification, to see God. Finally, but I prefer the third interpretation. Finally, the third interpretation is spiritual. It's contemplative. Very difficult. To understand its contemplative sense, it is necessary to take in mind Matthew 25, verse 113.


The parable of 10... 25, verse 113. But we, now, we don't have time for this. But do you remember this text? It is the parable of 10 virgins. Do you remember? Yeah, yeah. Very important. To understand its contemplative sense of this interpretation, it is necessary to take in mind this text. The sense of the word of Jesus should be this. When you want to taste God's love... And here, prayer is a relationship of love. This is prayer. It's not blah, [...] blah.


Meeting, relationship with God. But love, meeting of love. Go in the wedding hall. Wedding hall. This is a private room. Now it is a wedding hall. And close the door. Love in secret. He will say to you, come then, my love. My lovely one, come. Psalm 2, verse 10. And you will answer after these words. Come, my love. My lovely one, come.


And you will answer, I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine. Songs of songs. Chapter 6, verse 3. And today, in the reading of Hosea, the last words. You are my people and you are my God. The same relation. The same. Have you understood that when you want to taste God's love, go. Go in the wedding hall. And close the door. Love in secret. This is a prayer. And we say to you, come.


God will say to you, come, my love. My lovely one, come. This is an experience to be loved by God. And you will answer, I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine. But this is the last step of Horatio. It's the last step. What? Did you say that's the last step? Yeah, the last step. Because three interpretations of this. Interpretation, concrete sense, myself, more person, and finally. And in the tradition, there are four steps of Horatio. The first is Horatio Compuncionis, prayer of contrition. The second is prayer of petition, request.


The third is Eucharistic prayer, of thanksgiving. And finally, Horatio Laudativa, prayer of praise. Because when the God word begins to read us, I feel the difference between me and the reality and the gift of God. For this reason, my prayer is of contrition. Because I see myself in my reality, true reality. But from this discovery, I ask a new life. And for this reason, the prayer changes from prayer of contrition and it begins prayer of petition, of request.


I ask God, help me. And finally, this moment is long. Sometimes four years, not for three minutes. Four years. And after, in my maturity, my prayer begins Eucharistic prayer. Because I begin to see the work of the Spirit in myself, in my community, in the history. I begin to become contemplative. Eucharistic prayer of thanksgiving. And in this moment, I thank only. The position of St. Paul, my grace is enough for you.


And finally, prayer of praise. One word about contemplation. Oh my God. The contemplation. I prefer, I have three kinds of interpretation of contemplation, but we don't have time and I prefer the last. Contemplation in Greek is the word theoria. Theoria is very important. Theoria. This word is present one time in the Bible. In the New Testament, one time. Luke chapter 23, verse 48.


This word is apax. Another Greek word, apax. It's unique. You read this verse. Luke 24, 48. Luke 23, verse 48. Please. When the crowds which had assembled for the spectacle saw what had happened, they went home beating their breasts. Okay. The translation is the spectacle. Spectacle. The translation is not good. It is not good. Also in modern language, because this word is very, very, very difficult. But the meaning of this word is theoria.


In Greek, we have theoria. It is a contemplation. And the contemplation is the spectacle. But this word is thea. Thea comes. Thea. And oraos. Thea meaning vision. And oraos, to see. To see a vision. Okay. But there is not a movie. Of course. Yeah. Yeah. Thank you.


What is our spectable? Spectable. Spectacle. Is Jesus in clothes? Yeah. The contest is the cross. The Christian contemplation is this new vision. We see the reality of Jesus Christ present in every person. Present in every person. In every place. We see the mystery of Jesus Christ. And for this reason, read, please, also Gaudium et Spes, number 22. Gaudium et Spes is a document of Second Council, number 22. This is that number that in the last day I have forgotten.


Number two, the mystery, the Paschal mystery of Jesus, cross, and resurrection is present in every person. In every situation. In every place. In every community. In the history. On the earth and in the heavens. As a contemplative man sees this vision, contemplate this vision, this presence, this mystery, in everything, in every man, in every situation. This is contemplation. Christian contemplation. It's not a closed garden contemplation. Ah, experience, ineffable. No, no. It's not separation between earth and heaven, soul and body.


No, no, no. Contemplation is, its meaning is tonight, everything. This is contemplation. Poor words for contemplation. Poor. Very poor. I think, I hope in my notes to explain more about this. Okay. I think that next week when Robert comes back, we have another meeting for question, for discussion about methodology. And for this reason, it's very important to read all my notes, especially chapter three. Because this discussion will be about lecture giving. And it is important for us to use this time, this meeting with me, for question.


Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Because the meaning of the scripture is so great. So you would meet every week for two years? A class? Because we have together, class, three times every week. Because we have class about liturgy, about scripture, about rule. But the background is lecture giving. Because all community lives around lecture giving. The world. This is important.


Okay. Lectio. It is necessary to have a Bible to begin lecture giving. This sentence, which can seem evident, is very, very important. I say a personal Bible. My Bible. A good Bible. For example, the Jerusalem Bible. This is the best Bible, I think. Because the translation is very good. And there are references, very important, for the Lectio Divina. Because this reference, through this reference, I try, I search other passages. And very important, the notes. This is the best Bible. But in America, in the United States, also in Europe, there are other Bibles with good translation.


But the notes, this is the best in the world. But I say a personal Bible. My Bible. Where I, every day, I do lecture giving. Because with a pen, I... Can you say in this? Mark. Words, verbs. Very important. So begins a relationship of friendship, of knowledge, and spiritual affinity with God's Word. For this reason, at Kamaldoli, the postulancy begins with the consignment of the Bible to every postulant. On that occasion, the prior invites the new candidates to monastic life to begin their spiritual path with and under God's Word.


Now, in reading Scripture, where do I begin? This is the central question. Where? From the Gospel. Especially from the Gospel which the Liturgy offers us every day. Because in three years, the Liturgy presents us almost all Bibles. In three years. And the Liturgy is the school of spiritual life. For this reason. Now, we are reading the Matthew Gospel in the weekday, and the Mark Gospel. The Gospel of Mark in the Sunday. Especially from the Gospel which the Liturgy offers us every day.


And with the Gospel, it is very important to repeat in our moments of silence and of personal prayer some psalms which have been prayed in the Liturgy of hours. For example, today in the morning, we have prayed three psalms. Great! Twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six. Today, it is very important to repeat with my Lectio Divina these psalms. Why the psalms? Because in the psalms, I find myself and I learn what prayer is. It's not blah, blah, blah, blah. My blah, [...] blah. God is tired of our blah, [...] blah. But He wants to receive a pure prayer.


Because in the psalms, I find myself and I learn what prayer is. Through the psalms, I can acclaim God with trust and hope. But I can also give free play to my dark thoughts, dark thoughts, which otherwise would lie in wait in my heart. Above all, the psalms sing my search for God, the joy and the suffering of my search of God. Here, the psalms are a support for our prayer and for Lectio Divina. But Lectio Divina begins reading the Gospel in the cell. And we must learn to read it. Monastic tradition prefers a reading aloud. I have spoken about this.


A reading aloud. I insist about this. It is very important. In the beginning, it is boring. But after, we discover the importance of this. Monastic tradition prefers a reading aloud so that we lend our voice to the world. In this sense, our reading becomes hearing. I cannot read the Gospel like I read another book or the newspaper. Of course. For example, when I read a book, I learn its contents. Sure, I can also study the Bible. But when we monks read the Scriptures, our goal is only the hearing of the Lord's Word.


And to hear, I must first listen to the Word. Listen to the Word. Therefore, the first exercise of Lectio Divina is the proclamation of the Gospel. It is necessary to read at least three or four times the text of our Lectio with attention and concentration and with long and deep pauses of silence. Three or four times. Why? Because in the beginning, I am not concentrated about prayer. I need a time of silence, meditation. I read. I understand. No, nothing. Repeat, please.


Silence, meditation, concentration. Often, especially in the beginning of our monastic path, we want to understand Scripture quickly. To walk too fast, remember, is dangerous. Sometimes, I listen to some young monks saying incommensurably, but Scripture says, be careful with this, because our permanent temptation is to interpret the Bible according to our religious ideas. On the contrary, God's Word is a gift which does not come to confirm my thoughts,


my religious ideas, my theological opinion. No. But it comes to change my mind and to convert my life. Therefore, the first exercise of Lectio is to read aloud the Gospel in a context of silence, of concentration, and of prayer, and to repeat the reading many times, maybe following other translations. This is very good. But sometimes, I read other translations, also in Italian. I have in my cell in Italy, four, five, six Bibles,


with different translations. It is very, very interesting to read together these translations, because the original text is in Greek, and few people know very well Greek. And the different translations help us to understand, to comprehend the sense of Scripture. The first exercise of Lectio is to read aloud the Gospel in a context of silence, of prayer, and to repeat the reading many times, following other translations, to hear the living word of our Lord Jesus Christ. Hence, we will begin to have a first spiritual intuition.


This is the point. Be careful. When I read the Gospel and I repeat, I begin, I receive, I receive a spiritual intuition. New, which I don't find in a comment of the Scripture. This is the gift of Lectio. For this reason, it is very important to pay attention about this first intuition, our personal intuition. And this personal intuition comes from this reading, which is hearing. Then we can still read our text according to synoptic reading,


because my text in Matthew is also present sometimes in Mark, in Luke, in John. And it is very important not only to read our text in a different translation, but also in synoptic reading, in the other Gospels. Very, very important. And I find a difference. After this work of reading, and above all of hearing, we must pay attention to the structure of the text. A parable is different from the narration of a miracle. Or from a speech of Christ. Every page, every text of the Gospel is different. It is very important to comprehend what is this.


Is it a parable? OK. Is it a discourse, a speech of Christ? OK. What is the structure of the text? In fact, every text also has a context, which we must see in its concrete biblical reduction, because each writer has his own literal style, and above all, he develops his own theology. Matthew does not write like Mark or Luke. The best writer is Luke, because he knows very well Greek, and the Greek is very good. But the deep Gospel is John. And for Cardinal Martini,


as Bishop of Milan, there is a progression of reading for the Gospel, because Mark is the first Gospel. We must read first the Gospel of Mark, because Mark develops all his Gospels around the person of Jesus Christ. Who is Jesus Christ? After Matthew, because his Gospel is ecclesiological, about the Church, Christ and the Church. These two points are very important for Matthew. And after, Luke. And finally, for the maturity, John. Probably, this distribution of the Gospel


was present in the early Church. And this was the catechism for the first Church. The catechism was the Bible, not our prayer. Now, all this spiritual work of reading, of repetition, and of hearing, has sense if we find out the center of our texts. The center. What is this center? In Lectio Divina, we don't search for the textual center. We seek the spiritual center, which gives a contemplative sense to all the texts. This center can be a sentence,


a verb, or a series of verbs, a teaching, one word. Probably, in the beginning, it is not easy to uncover the spiritual secret of a text. But we must not forget the words of Jesus, Ask, and it will be given to you. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7.7 In other words, this center is not always the exegetical center. For us monks, this is not very important. The exegetical center. This center is the heart of the text for me.


Now, in my present spiritual path. Because this word speaks to me now. We must understand that the center, which we have discovered in our Lectio, is a gift of the Spirit. It is a spiritual intuition, which does not come from our intelligence, but from God. It is very important for us to hear the other interpretations. For this reason, it is very important to call us. God works within me, but works also in you. For me, it is very important


to hear the work of God in you. At this point, I must answer a common question. How can I check my spiritual intuition? Because in the beginning, I know we have many problems about this. We are young, we are introverts, nervous. This is not important. In monastic life, the important thing is to find out my center. Okay, in the beginning it is small. Very, very small. But after, the center grows. But the question is,


how can I check my spiritual intuition? We have three ways. The scriptures, the liturgy, the community. Scripture. Because every text has other passages in the Bible which can contribute to comprehension according to our intuition. The Fathers said that Scripture is explained by Scripture. Therefore, the first confirmation comes from the Scripture. For this reason, it is very important the reference here. Because I have found my center in my text, and here I found reference. Okay, I go, and for me it is possible confrontation.


The Scripture. The second, liturgy. After the wisdom of Scripture, there is the school of the liturgy. This is very important. The liturgical gospel. That is the text of our lecture. For many years, it is very important for our lecture, the gospel. Gospel, gospel, gospel. Not Paul, Jeremiah, Uzziah, Genesis. No, gospel, gospel, gospel. For almost four, five, six years. Very important. The gospel. And after Saint Paul, or Uzziah the prophet. After. Because our faith is in Jesus Christ.


And it is necessary to know Jesus Christ. Deep knowledge. I am in monastery from ten years. And I am also, my lecture is also about gospel. My homily is always about gospel. I don't know when. But the liturgical gospel, every day, is introduced by the Hallelujah verse. Very important, this verse. Hallelujah. This verse is the key to the liturgical interpretation. Along with the other readings,


the opening prayer, the preface, and the communion antiphon. Especially, this is very important on the Sunday. The gospel is the center. But with the Hallelujah verse, is the key of the liturgical interpretation of this text. And the first reading, the second reading, but also the opening prayer. Very important. Last Sunday I read, as remembered, the opening prayer. Very, very important. To comprehend the gospel. And the preface. What is the pronunciation? Preface. Preface. Also, because in Lent, Advent,


and also in Easter, the preface is for this time, season. And it is very interesting, the antiphon of communion. Why? Because the antiphon of communion presents, now, after communion, my meeting with Jesus Christ, the reality of God's Word. And finally, community. According to the monastic tradition, to solve the more difficult passages of Scripture, it is necessary to have frequent colloquies? Colloquies? Conversations with the spiritual father,


with the older brothers, and finally, with the prior. Also, prior is very important. Spiritual father, older brother, and prior. When I don't understand very well the Scripture, it is very important, this confrontation. But in the tradition, and fortunately, this practice is also current, present in our houses, there was collation. Collation. Collation is the lecture of the community. As to the liturgy, or to the chapter, all brothers are present, so also to the collation. Why? Because it is the spirit who calls us to participate in the community's life,


in the liturgy, and in collation. Because the spirit is present in every brother and speaks to us through each member of the community. Therefore, collation is very important for two reasons. Because I can check the spiritual intuition of my personal lecture, and because I can hear and receive the action of the spirit through other brothers. This is the lecture. Reading, repetition, confrontation with other translations, and in the context of prayer, silence, concentration. And the point is to find out my center. For a contemplative center,


there is a sense to all this. Meditation. According to the Christian tradition, Christian tradition, not Buddhist tradition, the meditation is not a technique of emptying emptying our soul. This is the point of the difference between the Christian tradition and the Buddhist tradition, for example, or other traditions. Sure, Christian meditation is an exercise of attention, of purification, and of concentration. But its goal is a fullness and the maturation


of God's Word within us. It's the contrary. It's not I am not empty after meditation, but I am full of God's Word. In this sense, Christian meditation, according to most ancient traditions, is biblical. Our meditation is not about other books, but is biblical. This is the characteristic of Christian meditation. And in Lectio Divina, it is formed by three important moments. Be careful. By the work of the ant. Proverbs


6, 6, 11. Can you read this text? Proverbs 6, 6. You find this because I am here. Go to the ant. Moment. Proverbs 6, chapter 6, verse 6. 6, 6. Do you know this text? Proverbs 6, 6. Okay. Thanks. Go to the ant, O slugger. Go to the... No. This is not the beginning. Go to the ant. No. No, no, no. Study your reads.


6, 6. My Bible is idler. Is what? Idler. Idler. Oh, here. Idler. Idol. Idol. Okay. On the ant. Same thing. Slugger is a synonym for idler. Okay. This word is important. Idler. You want someone to read the same translation that you did? Yeah. Michael, read. I don't want to read it. Why? Idler. Go to the ant. Ponder her ways and grow wise. No one gives her orders, no overseer, no master. Yet all through the summer, she gets her food ready and gathers her supplies at harvest time. Thank you. Thank you. The work of the ant.


The work of the bee. Of the bee. This work is present in in the Jerusalem Bible in the note. Note D. Note D. Of Proverbs 6, 8. Do you have a Jerusalem Bible? You? Read, please. The note D. D. Greek. Add or go to the bee or seek out diligence. She is a hound. Consider what work she does. Kings and commoners take what she yields for their help. She sought after and reverted by all. Her strength may be feeble, but because she does not hunt, to wisdom she wins respect. Okay. Two work of the ant and of the bee. And finally, the work of discernment. Discernment. The work of the ant.


We have read read the text of the Proverbs. In other words, the work of the ant is to harvest harvest the food. Now, our food is God's word. How can I harvest my spiritual fruit in the Bible? Here, the teaching of Father is very interesting. They use the image of hammering Is it exact? Hammering. Hammering. I have said the first step of Lex Divina is to find the spiritual center of a text. To receive its contemplative sense. This center can be a sentence, a series of verbs, one verb, or one word. However,


this center is for us the keystone of our text. Now, the hammering of this key word I beat this word and produce many sparks sparks which call to mind other texts. Others. For example, my key word in the text of last Sunday was wisdom. Wisdom. Present in the text. Do you remember? Wisdom. This word is present in many passages, many texts of Scripture. Many, many, many, many, many. There is a a book of wisdom. A book.


I I beat this key keystone. What is beat here? I think. I try. There, where our memory stops, we must earth our foot. This is the work of the hand. But the most important thing is the hammering of our key word of that center which we have found in our text. Of course, whoever knows the Scripture more will have the possibility to meditate a larger number of texts. Of course. But this probably after three or four


or five years. But the important thing is to begin. So you begin to understand why memory was so important for the Father. For this reason. Memory. I I beat my key word and this this work does produce many sparks and there where our memory stops we must harvest our foot. As an ant. Ok? The work of the beam. In this sense I try two or three texts not more. Because


telling texts is difficult. I need a week for meditation. But this work is every day. And sometimes it is enough one text two texts. Stop! This is not quantity. Tension. This is the quality of our foot. No quantity. The second step of meditation is the work of the beam. Consists the second step of meditation consists in the work of the beam. It is not only necessary to harvest our foot some text of scripture but also to work with it as a beam. What is the work of a beam? In fact


every beam produces honey from the nectar collected from flowers. Or if we want to take another example we can use the analogy between an artist and his work. Let us think of a sculptor. First it is necessary to find the material of our foot. The material. First Michelangelo Michelangelo for example goes personally to to find out the the yeah for David or personally for weeks Massacarada where is the very mountain and after


he begins to work with it with this material but for the ancient a work of art was almost present in material was a work of art was almost present in material. It was necessary only to unveil it and this was the work of the artist. Very very interesting this. And we are this this material. I am this material in the hands of God and God is the artist that unveil this is the work of purification and produce I hope a work


of art spiritual in other words the work of the monk is to meditate that is to reveal the hidden sense of scripture hidden sense of scripture to produce the honey of the evangelical wisdom yet we read that in Luke 7 35 yet wisdom has been proved right by all children. This was this text was passages of my meditation about the text of last month


last Sunday yet wisdom has been proved right by all children Luke 7 35 but monastic tradition calls this second step of meditation Ruminatio Ruminatio and here Ruminatio is not only the repetition of the word here the repetition of God's word means the capacity to digest to digest the scriptures it is the experience of a zikir and we have read this text when do you remember Sunday morning it is the experience of a zikir open your mouth and eat what I am about


to give you eat eat what is given to you eat this scroll I opened my mouth he gave me the scroll to eat I ate it and it tastes sweet as honey a zikir two chapter two verse eight and following therefore after the work of the harvest is necessary the work of assimilation of God's word within us and finally the work of discernment personally I would like to call this third step the moment of crisis in greek in


english discernment judgment decision why because God's word is yes sweet as honey but sour in our stomach let us read a revelation please revelation chapter ten verse nine ten revelation chapter ten verse nine ten I went up to the angel and said to him give me the little scroll


he said to me here take it and eat it and it will be sour in your stomach but in your mouth it will taste as sweet as honey I took the little scroll from the angel's hand and ate it in my mouth it indeed


God's word is living and effective sharper than any two-edged sword this is very important do you repeat this you repeat indeed God's word is living and effective sharper than any two-edged sword it penetrates and divides soul and spirit joints and marrow it judges the reflections and thoughts of the heart thank you now this presence and the action of word within us is often so smart that we prove to escape from our personal situation if only we remain in the crucible crucible of meditation we will receive the gift of new prayer of


new prayer i think it is very important for us to read again my notes and to meditate be careful about this text and the next week we can um we can have a discussion with question about the methodology of lexio divina but um i want to continue about oratio and and contemplation here i have not uh no i have