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"Lectio divina is an authentic source of Christian spirituality recommended by our Rule. We therefore practice it every day, so that we may develop a deep and genuine love for it, and so that we may grow in the surpassing knowledge of Christ. In this way we shall put into practice the Apostle Paul’s commandment, which is mentioned in our Rule: “Let the sword of the spirit, the Word of God, live abundantly in your mouth and in your hearts; and whatever you must do, do it in the name of the Lord.”

 Carmelite Constitutions (No. 82)

Lectio Divina: Luke 2:22-35

Lectio Divina

Christmas Time

1) Opening prayer

God, Father of light,
the old man Simeon recognized Your Son
as the light that would shine on all.
May we too recognize Jesus,
even if He comes to us in a humble way,
in the shape and person of children,
of old people, of the poor and the little ones.

Make us receive Him too
as the light not only of our lives
but as the bright dawn for all nations.
For you are the Father of all
and Jesus belongs to all as their Savior and Lord,
now and for ever. 

2) Gospel Reading – Luke 2:22-35

And when the day came for them to be purified in keeping with the Law of Moses, they took Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord - observing what is written in the Law of the Lord: Every first-born male must be consecrated to the Lord - and also to offer in sacrifice, in accordance with what is prescribed in the Law of the Lord, a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. Now in Jerusalem there was a man named Simeon. He was an upright and devout man; he looked forward to the restoration of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death until he had set eyes on the Christ of the Lord. Prompted by the Spirit he came to the Temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for Him what the Law required, he took Him into his arms and blessed God; and he said:
Now, Master, You are letting your servant go in peace as You promised;
for my eyes have seen the salvation
which You have made ready in the sight of the nations;
a light of revelation for the Gentiles and glory for Your people Israel.
As the child's father and mother were wondering at the things that were being said about Him, Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Look, He is destined for the fall and for the rise of many in Israel, destined to be a sign that is opposed - and a sword will pierce your soul too - so that the secret thoughts of many may be laid bare.”

3) Reflection

• The first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke are not a history according to the meaning that we give to history. They serve, more than everything else, as a mirror in which the converted Christians from paganism discover that Christ had come to fulfill the prophecies of the Old Testament and to respond to the more profound aspirations of the human heart. They are, then, a symbol and mirror of what was happening among the Christians at the time of Luke. The communities coming from paganism were born from the communities of converted Jews, but they were diverse. The New did not correspond to what the Old imagined and expected. It was a “sign of contradiction” (Lk 2:34). It caused tension and was a source of great suffering and pain. In Mary, the image of the people of God, Luke represents a model of how to persevere in the New, without being unfaithful to the Old.
• In these two chapters of the Gospel of Luke, everything revolves around the birth of the two children: John and Jesus. These two chapters make us feel the sense of the Gospel of Luke. In them, the environment is one of tenderness and praise. From  beginning to end, there is praise and singing because the mercy of God has finally been revealed in Jesus. He fulfills the promises made to the Fathers. God fulfills them on behalf of the poor, the anawim, like Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary and Joseph, Anna and Simeon, and the shepherds. All of them knew how to wait for His coming.
• The insistence of Luke in saying that Mary and Joseph fulfilled everything which the Law prescribes, recalls what Paul writes in the Letter to the Galatians: “When the completion of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born subject to the Law, to redeem the subjects of the Law so that we could receive adoption as sons” (Gal 4:4-5).
• The story of Simeon teaches that hope will be realized some day if not immediately. It is not frustrated, it is realized. But the way does not always correspond to what we imagine. Simeon was waiting for the glorious Messiah of Israel. Going to the Temple in the midst of many couples who were taking their children, he sees the realization of his hope and the hope of the people: “My eyes have seen the salvation, which you have made ready in the sight of the nations, a light of revelation for the Gentiles and glory for your people Israel”.
• In today’s Gospel, we have the preferred themes of Luke which are an insistence on the action of the Holy Spirit, prayer and the prayer environment, continuous attention on the action and participation of the women, and a constant concern for the poor and the message for the poor.

4) Personal questions

• Would you be able to perceive the light to enlighten the nations in a poor child ?
• Would you be capable of waiting your whole life for the realization of your hope?

5) Concluding Prayer

Sing a new song to Yahweh!
Sing to Yahweh, all the earth!
Sing to Yahweh, bless His name!
Proclaim his salvation day after day. (Ps 96:1-2)

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As Carmelites We live our life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and to serve Him faithfully with a pure heart and a clear conscience through a commitment to seek the face of the living God (the contemplative dimension of life), through prayer, through fraternity, and through service (diakonia). These three fundamental elements of the charism are not distinct and unrelated values, but closely interwoven. 

All of these we live under the protection, inspiration and guidance of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whom we honor as "our Mother and sister."