Intimate Prayer, the Theologians Fertilizer
Devotional Thought of the Day:
6 Then Jesus told them this parable: “There was once a man who had a fig tree growing in his vineyard. He went looking for figs on it but found none. 7So he said to his gardener, ‘Look, for three years I have been coming here looking for figs on this fig tree, and I haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it go on using up the soil?’ 8But the gardener answered, ‘Leave it alone, sir, just one more year; I will dig round it and put in some manure. 9Then if the tree bears figs next year, so much the better; if not, then you can have it cut down.’ ” Luke 13:6-9
To God the Holy Spirit:
KYRIE, bountiful Spirit, united with the Father and the Son in a subsistence of one substance, proceeding from both the Father and the Son, have mercy.
KYRIE, who, when Christ was baptized in the waves of the Jordan, appeared in Your glory in the form of a dove, have mercy.
KYRIE, kindle our hearts with divine fire so that we are made worthy to praise You forever, have mercy. (2)
And what about us? Are we so far away from the stable because we are much too refined and too smart for that? Do we not get all entangled in scholarly exegesis, in the proof or disproof of historical authenticity to the extent that we have become blind and deaf to the Child himself? Do we not really all too intensely dwell in “Jerusalem”, in a palace, withdrawn within ourselves, in our self-sufficiency, our fear of being challenged, too much so to be able to hear the voice of the angels, to set out to worship? Thus, in this holy night, the faces of ox and ass are turned toward us questioningly: My people does not understand, do you recognize the voice of your Lord? When we put the familiar figures in our crèche, we would do well to pray that God would bestow on our heart the kind of simplicity that recognizes the Lord in this Child—just like Francis in Greccio. Then this might happen also to us: everyone returned home, full of rejoicing.
Martin Chemnitz, perhaps the greatest of the Lutheran theologians. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Later Pope Benedict XVI, in my opinion, the greatest of the theologians in the last century.
Martin’s prayer and Joseph’s words about the birth of Jesus give us a picture of their souls. Brilliant though they may be, they see the need for God to work on our hearts, to create the simplicity, to kindle in them a divine fire.
These words help us realize that the study of theology must take a back seat to those intimate times where we realize the presence of God. Where we hear HIs voice, where we see His hand at work, where we experience His glory.
Good theology is a result (not the result) of a prayer life that is created, nurtured and guided by the Lord and Giver of Life. It cannot simply be the work of active minds but needs to be preceded and immersed in the presence of God. It then becomes more than an academic pursuit, it becomes life, a life pregnant and incarnate with the presence of God.
It is the same for those theological masterpieces we call sermons and Bible studies. They need to come our of our devotional life, out of the riches of our interaction with God. If Chemnitz and Pope Benedict need this in their lives, how could we think we don’t need this work of the Holy Spirit?
Otherwise, we may look like a fig tree, have the leaves and trunk of a fig tree, but we won’t bear any fruit.
May we pray with simple hearts, formed and enkindled by Holy Spirit, as we do what God has called and planned for us to do! AMEN!
Chemnitz, Martin, and Jacob A. O. Preus. Loci Theologici. electronic ed. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1999. Print.
Ratzinger, Joseph. Co-Workers of the Truth: Meditations for Every Day of the Year. Ed. Irene Grassl. Trans. Mary Frances McCarthy and Lothar Krauth. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992. Print.
Posted on December 26, 2016, in Augsburg and Trent, Devotions, Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI, Theology in Practice and tagged Fertilizer, intimacy with God, Loci Communes, Martin Chemnitz, prayer, sermons. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.