People once asked Jesus, "What is the greatest commandment?" He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”
How do you love with such intensity? A love that consumes your feelings, thoughts, actions, decisions — everything that makes you you. Those who’ve been in love understand what I mean.
When you’re in love, your whole perspective on life changes. You see things through a different lens. You’re capable of amazing self-sacrifice and self-giving. What’s so incredible is that you don’t even think of what you do as something costly. Giving sacrificially becomes a natural part of your life because love shifts your center. The object of your love, your beloved, becomes the center of your life. Can we love God like that? Yes!
God has placed a deep longing in our souls that only He can satisfy. The book of James says that God jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us. And because of that desire, He’s the One who causes us to fall in love with him. Once we’re touched by his love, then our center shifts and desiring him becomes the center of our lives.
I’ve always believed God loved me. The Bible says so, but the love Jesus is referring to supersedes our understanding. It’s an all-consuming love that engulfs your heart, soul, and mind. It’s a love that no longer allows you to be content with just doing your Christian duties. It creates a longing for something deeper. It was this deep desire that led me to practice Lectio Divina or divine reading.
Contemplative prayer taught me how to read the Bible in a meditative way. It helped me connect with my Creator through the abundance of his love for me and my love for him. I learned to allow God’s Spirit to speak to me not only in the general meaning of the letter but also in the letter’s deeper meaning that applies to my life.
I came to understand what God meant when He said to his people to be still and know that He is God. I realized stillness entails a silence of my heart, soul, and chattering mind. Through Lectio Divina, I learned how to rest in my heavenly Father and enjoy his presence.
As Thelma Hall says:
It [lectio Divina] is an effect of being literally “in love” with God, at a deepest level of the relationship with him for which we are created… Contemplative prayer is consent to that love. It is…a part of a lifetime process — often costly and painful — of self-emptying and reorientation to selfless love, i.e., a serious following of Jesus…
Do you have a desire to respond to God’s longing for your soul with your own longing for him? Come join me on this journey.