Lectio divina

The reading of Scripture gradually leads to our giving testimony (martyría) to a Presence, and it finds its highest fulfillment in martyrdom, the gift of one’s life for love. Rabbi Akiva experienced his own martyrdom as a fulfillment of the Shema’: “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your life” (Deuteronomy 6:5). As his torturers were stripping his flesh from his body, Rabbi Akiva recited the Shema’, and when his disciples tried to interrupt him, he said, “All my life I have thought about this verse: ‘You shall love God with all your life,’ which means, you shall love him even if he takes your life from you, and I said, ‘When will I be able to do that?’ And now that I am able, should I not do it?” (Babylonian Talmud, Berakot 61b). The Word that has illuminated one’s life transforms even death into life. This awareness can help us answer an objection we often encounter today in Christian environments, and that we can express as follows: if the Word of God is effective, if Christians are returning to the Word of God heard in Scripture, where can we see this effectiveness? Where can we find signs of this power? This objection reveals how difficult it is to take from Scripture, and not from ourselves or the secular environment in which we live, our criterion for judging effectiveness, which is the criterion of the cross. It is not by chance that Paul speaks of ho lógos ho toû stauroû, the "word of the cross" (1 Corinthians 1:18): and yet this word, this effectiveness is only perceptible and intelligible from within a perspective of faith. Only faith, moreover, can allow us to recognize the present ecclesial season of martyrdom as the fruit of the effectiveness of the Word, listened to and served to the point of giving one’s life for love - love of God and others, love even for one’s enemies and torturers.

From: ENZO BIANCHI, Words of Spirituality,
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London 2002

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Bibbia e Spirito: la “lectio divina” nella chiesa
pp. 144 - € 10,00
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