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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: Matthew 15:29-37

Lectio Divina

1st Week of Advent

1) Opening prayer

God of all people,
You know how people hunger and thirst
for truth, love and acceptance.
If we accept You and believe in You
we see our deepest trust and aspirations
being fulfilled by You
as we work for the coming of Your kingdom.
Help us to let the cup that You pour for us
overflow on all Your people,
that all may praise You
now and for ever.

2) Gospel Reading - Matthew 15:29-37

Jesus went on from there and reached the shores of the Lake of Galilee, and He went up onto the mountain. He took His seat, and large crowds came to Him bringing the lame, the crippled, the blind, the dumb and many others; these they put down at His feet and He cured them. The crowds were astonished to see the dumb speaking, the cripples whole again, the lame walking and the blind with their sight, and they praised the God of Israel. But Jesus called His disciples to Him and said, “I feel sorry for all these people; they have been with Me for three days now and have nothing to eat. I do not want to send them off hungry, or they might collapse on the way.” The disciples said to Him, “Where in a deserted place could we get sufficient bread for such a large crowd to have enough to eat?” Jesus said to them, “How many loaves have you?” They said, “Seven, and a few small fish.” Then He instructed the crowd to sit down on the ground, and He took the seven loaves and the fish, and after giving thanks He broke them and began handing them to the disciples, who gave them to the crowds. They all ate as much as they wanted, and they collected what was left of the scraps, seven baskets full.

3) Reflection

Today’s Gospel is like the rising sun. It is always the same sun every day which renews life and renders plants fertile. The greatest danger is routine. Routine kills the Gospel and extinguishes the sun of life.
• The elements which form the picture of the Gospel are always the same: Jesus, the mountain, the sea, the crowds, the sick, the needy, the problems of life. However, despite their familiarity they, like the sun, bring a life giving message.
• Like Moses, Jesus goes up to the mountain and the people gather around Him. They bring their problems with them: sickness, blindness, deafness, etc.  They are the new People of God who gather around the new Moses. Jesus cures all of them.
• Jesus calls the disciples. He has compassion for the people who have nothing to eat . According to the disciples, the solution  must come from outside: “Where to find bread to feed so many people?” According to Jesus, the solution must  come from the people through His help: “How many loaves have you?”  They answer “seven and a few small fish”. With these few loaves of bread and  fish, Jesus satisfies the hunger of all, and there are even some left over. If today people would share what they have, there would be no hunger in the world. Many things would be left over! Truly, another world is possible!
• The account of the multiplication of the loaves foretells the Eucharist : “Jesus, took the bread in His hands, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to His disciples”.

4) Personal questions

• Jesus feels compassion. Is there compassion in me when facing  the problems of humanity? Do I do something about it?
• The disciples expect  the solution to come from outside. Jesus shows differently. Where do I look for solutions?
• Is every day routine for me, or do I thank God for another day and creatively seek to do His will?

5) Concluding Prayer

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In verdant pastures He gives me repose. (Ps 23)

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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."