Below are the verses that jumped out at me over the past month or so of time spent with the Word of God in the Gospel of Luke. Underneath, I list the parts of these verses that resonated with me in particular, and then I try to make sense of the conversation that is unfolding between God and me.
Luke 1:4 "So that you may realize the certainty of the teachings you have received."
Luke 2:35 "So that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed."
Luke 3:8 "Produce good fruit as evidence of your repentance."
Luke 4:36 "They were all amazed and said to one another, 'What is there about his word? For with authority and power [Jesus] commands the unclean spirits, and they come out."
Luke 5:5 "Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command, I will lower the nets."
Luke 6:40 "No disciple is superior to the teacher, but when fully trained, every disciple will be like [the] teacher."
Luke 7:24 "What did you go out to the desert to see?"
Luke 8:10 "[Jesus] answered, 'Knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God has been granted to you.'"
Luke 9:23 "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me."
Luke 10:41-42 "You are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing."
Luke 11:33 "No one who lights a lamp hides it or places it under a bushel basket, but on a lamp stand so that those who enter might see the light."
Luke 12:8 "Everyone who acknowledges me before others the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God."
Luke 13:24 "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough."
Luke 14:11 "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted."
Luke 15:7 "There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over 99 righteous people who have no need of repentance."
Luke 16:13 "No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."
Luke 17:5 "And the Apostles said to the Lord, 'Increase our faith'."
Luke 18:1 "Then [Jesus] told them a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary."
Luke 19:10 "For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost."
Luke 19:46 [Jesus said] to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be a house of prayer.'"
Luke 20:36 They can no longer die, for they are like angels; ad they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.
Luke 21:38 And all the people would get up early each morning to listen to Him in the temple area.
Luke 22:41 After withdrawing about a stone's throw from them and kneeling, He prayed.
Luke 23:42 "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
Luke 24:45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
Certainty of the teachings
thoughts of many hearts
evidence of your repentance
with authority and power [Jesus] commands
but at your command, I will
when fully trained, every disciple will be like [the] teacher
What did you go [...] to see
Knowledge [...] has been granted to you
deny himself and take up his cross daily
There is need of only one thing
so that those who enter might see the light
acknowledges me before others
strive to enter through the narrow gate
one who humbles himself will be exalted
joy in heaven over one sinner who repents
no servant can serve two masters [...] You cannot serve God and mammon.
Increase our faith.
pray always without becoming weary
For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save
My house shall be a house of prayer
hey are the ones who will rise
Get up early each morning to listen to Him
Kneeling, He prayed
Jesus, remember me
He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.
Luke's gospel hasn't been as clear to me as was Mark's. I do see the Lord trying to offer me the wisdom and understanding that I am seeking in terms of the spiritual life, and hinting at how to receive it. To show proof of my repentance, I am to do what Jesus commands, seek Him in the desert (retreat), deny myself and take up my cross daily, acknowledge Him before others, strive to enter through the narrow gate, humble myself, choose between God and whatever else is taking the focus away from Him, and pray a lot!
In return, the Lord is offering me the certainty that His teachings are true and will reveal the thoughts of many hearts, that He has the authority and power to command unclean spirits even, that He is willing to train me as His disciple, that I can receive the knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, that I can be an instrument of His grace for others to see the light, that I can be assured of the joy in heaven over my repentance, that my faith can and will increase, because Jesus came to seek and to save me from the lost state I am in.
It seems to me that for now, I am being told to stay the course and trust God to reveal Himself and His ongoing plan for me in His own time. I am not to make demands on God before agreeing to commit to Him. I have to sit in my discomfort and await God's next move.
There was a beautiful prayer in a little red book, Hearts Ablaze-Praying with Jesuits, that talked about just this. But in my minimalist fervor coupled with my time away from the Church, I gave away that book. I guess life is full of regrets, big and small, but God - Jesus covers it all. As He says in Luke 10:42, "There is need of only one thing." Curiously, He says this to Martha, who was complaining to the Lord about her sister Mary. This was the theme on my women's retreat that brought me back into the fold.
There is need of only one thing.
What is that one thing?
Faith? Prayer? Repentance?
That is what I hope will be revealed to me in the second half of Luke's gospel. All three are needed, I know, but which is the foundation?
I initially divided this post into two parts (hence two quotes from Luke 19), because the second part started with the Passion Narrative. My questions from above were immediately answered as I began to take notes for the remaining verses. The one thing needed is prayer! Everything else flows from a life of prayer. Faith comes from a life of prayer. Repentance is the result of a prayerful attitude towards God. Virtues come from daily prayer. Joy and peace come from prayer. How does one have faith without prayer?! Who repents for their wrongdoings without first spending time in prayer, where they are convicted of their sin? At least prayer makes it easier and more obvious to repent.
And so I am convicted to spend more time in prayer. I honestly don't really think of my time in Lectio Divina as prayer. Or maybe prayer-lite. It's reading, so it's enjoyable to me, and it easily becomes an intellect activity. But at a recent church talk I also realized I wasn't incorporating an aspect of Lectio Divina that I should've. Namely, I haven't been using my time with Scriptures as an opportunity to enter into the story in a contemplative manner. So as I begin with the next gospel, I shall do so.
For every problem I have, I should turn to prayer. For every frustration, prayer. For every disappointment, prayer. For every doubt, prayer. For every sorrow, prayer. For every pain, prayer.
But also, for every reminder of grace, I should turn to God in thanksgiving prayer. For every day, prayer. For every encounter with a kind person, prayer. For every moment spent with my daughter, prayer. For every conversation had with my husband, prayer. For every time I find a redeeming quality in someone, myself included, prayer. Pray without ceasing - St. Paul said that for a reason, eh? It's the narrow gate that Jesus spoke of, isn't it?
Let us pray...