As we reflect on where we have strayed from God’s path this past year, we look forward with hope and expectation of a grace filled year, full of expectation of conversion and deepening of our faith and trust in the Lord.
This coming year, let us focus on the two great commandments of loving God and others with the desire for love intensely. As we enter the new year, with the spirit of metanoia (a decision to radically change direction in our lives towards Jesus), let’s meditate on the following scripture, prayerfully dwelling on each line using the lectio divina method (see below).
God’s Love and Christian Life (John 4:7-21)
Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God.
Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.
In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him.
In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins.
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another.
No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.
This is how we know that we remain in him and he in us, that he has given us of his Spirit.
Moreover, we have seen and testify that the Father sent his Son as savior of the world.
Whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in him and he in God.
We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us.
God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.
In this is love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as he is, so are we in this world.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us.
If anyone says, “I love God,”but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.
What is Lectio Divina?
Lectio Divina, Latin for "divine reading", is a prayerful way of reading selected Scripture encouraged by our Bishop Paul Loverde and Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Ask yourself the following (in order) –
What does this text say (a literal reading)?
What does this text say to me personally?
What do I want to say to God about what I have just read (how does He want this to apply to me)?
What difference will this text make in my life (i.e., how will I respond to God’s word, how will I be converted by what I’ve read)?