Praying with the Holy Scriptures this Lent: Sunday, March 10

In the spirit of the pastoral letter written by our bishop at the beginning of the season of Lent, where he urges us to "take one step with the Holy Spirit this Lent and so deepen our love for the inspired Sacred Scriptures," we would like to lead you in a prayerful encounter with the scriptures for each day of the season of Lent. This is not a bible study but a heart-felt encounter with the One who has longed to reveal himself to you in prayer.

The manner in which we will read the scriptures is called "Lectio Divina," an ancient method of reading, meditating, praying and contemplating the living word of God. Each day we will take the scripture of the day (the scripture of the daily Mass) and guide you through this beautiful process:

Today, First Sunday of Lent
Text: Luke 4:2-12

Step One: Lectio:
Slowly read the text below. As in all prayer, it is God who takes the first step, and so God now desires to speak to you through this holy text. Savor the words, but more importantly, savor the love with which the Lord speaks these words to you today.

The devil said to Jesus, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, One does not live on bread alone.” Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power and glory.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It is written: You shall worship the Lord, your God, and him alone shall you serve.” Then he led him to Jerusalem, made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: He will command his angels concerning you, to guard you, and: With their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.” Jesus said to him in reply, “It also says, You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.”

Step Two: Meditatio:
What does the biblical text say to us? I become aware of the thoughts and feelings I have as I encounter this holy text. The following reflection may help you today to focus on the meaning of the text for your life today.

“If you are the Son of God. . .” The experience of Jesus being tempted in the desert comes immediately after his wonderful encounter with the Father in the River Jordan, when, having received the Holy Spirit, he hears the voice of the Father, “You are my beloved Son.” Now the devil wants to have Jesus doubt that experience – doubt His very identity. If you really are the Son of God, then you can manipulate reality to your liking by turning stones into bread. You can put your Father to the test. You don’t even need your Father for I can give you half the Kingdoms of the world. In all these temptations, the devil begins by casting a shadow over our true identity.

How does Satan cast doubt upon your true identity? Here you are, a beloved daughter or son of the Father, set out on a journey this Lent to desire to recieve His graces, and Satan will dig up old wounds that would make you doubt your belovedness. He may make you believe that you are incompetent, and you better hide your weaknesses from others by lying. He may make you believe that you don’t matter and allow you to stew in jealousy over what others have achieved. He may make you think that no one will be there for you and have you simmer in anger and resentment. All his deceptions concern your identity.

This Lent, first and foremost, claim who you are as His Beloved. Open your heart to receive the blessings of a beloved child of the Father. And pray for the grace not to be distracted by those other voices of doubt and own pay. So Jesus is able to look upon Levi with love, and call him away from his post and his former way of life.

Step three: Oratio:
What do we say to the Lord in response to His word? What are the petitions or praise I offer him? What are the graces I am seeking as I encounter this holy text?

What are some of the lies that Satan continues to use to confuse me about my true identity? What is it about myself that I have come to falsely believe because of past wounds? I pray that the Lord can pour forth healing upon those memories stored in my heart.

Step Four: Contemplatio
We take the time to be silent, to allow our heart to rest in the One who loves us so. We simply allow our hearts to be still for all hat we need and all that we have asked for has now been placed in the hands of the One who loves us so.