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Lectio Divina - 10th Sunday of the Year


Composition Vll

Wassily Kandinsky 1913

 

Wassily Kandinsky (1866 – 1944), pioneered abstract painting in the early 20th century. He believed that geometric forms, lines, and colours could express the inner life of the artist.

 

Born in Moscow, he first studied law and economics. At the age of 30, he moved to Munich, Germany, enrolling at the Academy of Fine Art. Later as a teacher of the Bauhaus school of art in Weimar, he wrote two texts, "Concerning the Spiritual in Art" and "Point and Line to Plane," which served as guiding lights, illuminating the path toward a deeper understanding of art as a spiritual endeavour.

 

Composition VII, a painted in 1913 (age 47) is found in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. Kandinsky, an Orthodox Christian, was fascinated by Christian eschatology, and his first 7 Compositions dealt with the apocalypse.  Art historians have concluded that Composition VII is a combination of the themes of the Garden of Eden, the Flood, Judgment Day and Resurrection. It is one of the first artworks to emerge from Western European traditional painting, entirely shedding references to well known forms. He felt that the expression of one’s inner reality was crucial to achieve moral integrity. Anything less would not only undermine one’s artistic merit, but it would also be spiritually harmful to the artist. Furthermore, true artists should be prepared to be misunderstood throughout their lifetimes.

 

Kandinsky likened colours to the keys of a piano, with each stroke evoking a symphony of emotions within the human soul.  His legacy endures as a testament to the transformative power of art. At 67 he moved to France, becoming a French citizen, where he died three days before his 78th Birthday. 

 

 

Lectio 

2 Cor 4:13- 5:1

 

Jerusalem Bible:

13 But as we have the same spirit of faith as is described in scripture - I believed and therefore I spoke - we, too, believe and therefore we, too, speak, 14 realising that he who raised up the Lord Jesus will raise us up with Jesus in our turn, and bring us to himself -- and you as well. 15 You see, everything is for your benefit, so that as grace spreads, so, to the glory of God, thanksgiving may also overflow among more and more people. 16 That is why we do not waver; indeed, though this outer human nature of ours may be falling into decay, at the same time our inner human nature is renewed day by day. 17 The temporary, light burden of our hardships is earning us for ever an utterly incomparable, eternal weight of glory, 18 since what we aim for is not visible but invisible. Visible things are transitory, but invisible things eternal.

 

 

The English Standard Bible:

13 Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, 14 knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. 15 For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God. 16 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self[a] is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. 17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, 18 as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 5:1 For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

 

 

New International Version:

 

13 It is written: “I believed; therefore, I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, 14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. 15 All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. 

 

 

 

 

 

Meditatio

2 Cor 4:13- 5:1

 

The Second Letter of Paul to the Church in Corinth – Context

 

The second epistle to the Corinthians is among the most personal testimonies of Paul. Unlike the first epistle to the Corinthians, there is very little doctrine with many passages expressing the personal feelings of the apostle. He displays a profound vulnerability, sharing his own struggles and triumphs in his ministry. He speaks passionately about the transformative power of God's grace, emphasizing the importance of reconciliation and forgiveness within the Christian community, drawing from his own experiences of hardship and divine comfort.

 

We know that his relationship with the community in Corinth was stained and a number of his opponents were doing all they could to make things difficult for him, interpreting his trials as contradicting his claim to be an apostle. Paul’s personality is on stage from beginning to end because the subject is his ministry. In this passage he reflects on his present situation, rooted in faith, not in reason.

 

4:13-18 Sufferings here below and heavenly glory

 

To suffer and die like Christ for the testimony of God is the privilege of the believer. This is why Paul can use the words in the Psalms: I believed, therefore I spoke[1]. The glories of Christ, once hidden but now fully manifested, if a righteous person, one with a loving heart, kept all these qualities within, what use would they be? They must be brought to light. The highest point of glory is love. If the Lord had passed through this world without showing his love, where would have been his glory?[2] His glory was his love, appearing as grace and truth for the sinner.

 

That is to say again: I have acted as Christ himself did, because I know that He who resurrected Jesus will do the same for me and will present me with you before his face, in that same glory where Christ is found in heaven; and for the testimony that I restored to this glory, I suffered death like Him.

 

With the theme of tribulation, the theme of assurance is also strong in Paul. The Christian is not fearful but confident. Paul knows himself, he knows he is personally weak, incapable and his ability comes from God. The Christian life, the good we do, is a reality that we do not construct, but receive; which are given.

 

Paul invites us to stop looking to material things and concentrate on spiritual ones. Is he telling us to despise the things of this world and refuse to get involved with in trying to improve the condition of this material life? No, he invites us to give material things their proper value. They must in no way be turned into idols; they must not be our main aim in life. We must use them to live, not live to accumulate them.

 

The Old Law: a letter, material, the New Covenant: an internalised spirit. Sacred History progresses, God is leading the way. [Give us Lord the meaning of this story that You want to write with us Help us to see clearly where You are for your people, for Your Church. Help this Church not to get stuck again on the “letter”, satisfied with external rectitude, but to let itself be carried away by the “Spirit”. It’s true Lord we are always tempted to stop].

 

 

5:1 Christian hope: Putting on Divine Life

 

Paul proclaims with overwhelming and joyous certainty that a place for us awaits in heaven. It is not with the eyes of the body, that one can see today the things invisible, but with the eyes of the soul. “We know”, he says in the name of the Christian Community, that if this earthly house, transient as it is, is destroyed, we have a place in God, a house not made with hands, everlasting, in the heavens. Precious certainty! He knew it. Christians know it as a part of their faith. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, a real and practical hope was in his heart, he saw this glory as something with which he had to be clothed.

 

ORATIO

 

Lord, we humbly seek your guidance and illumination. Grant us the same unwavering faith that animated the apostles, so that our belief may be reflected in our words and actions.

 

In the certainty of your promise, we find assurance. Just as you raised Jesus, so too will you raise us to yourself. Help us to fully grasp this truth and live in its reality day by day.

 

Grant us the fortitude to see beyond our temporal challenges and focus our hearts on the eternal truths.

 

Even as our outer selves may weaken, may our inner selves be continually rejuvenated by your Holy Spirit. Help us to understand that these fleeting tribulations are but a light burden compared to the everlasting glory that awaits us.

 

Holy Spirit, guide us in every step, that our faith may be deepened and that our lives bringing honour to your name. We ask all this through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer, Amen.

 

CONTEMPLATIO

 

In a sacred moment of silence, may the truths which Paul's expounds resonate within us, revealing the transformative power of God's grace and the eternal hope we hold as believers."

  • "Silence is the sleep that nourishes wisdom." - St. John of the Cross

 

With sincerity Paul shares his struggles and triumphs, embracing hardships as participation in Christ's sufferings.

·        "If God sends you many sufferings, it is a sign that He has great plans for you and certainly wants to make you a saint." - St. Ignatius of Loyola

 

Paul's unwavering confidence in God renews him inwardly day by day, focusing on the invisible and eternal.

·        "Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them." - St. Francis de Sales

 

Paul's message urges us to use material things wisely without turning them into idols.

  • "Let us not forget: if we are to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus, our lives must bear witness to what we preach." - Pope Francis

 

Meditate on the joyous certainty of our heavenly home.

·        "Heaven is the ultimate end and fulfilment of the deepest human longings, the state of supreme, definitive happiness." - Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1024

 

May these reflections deepen our faith and transform our lives, finding strength and encouragement in our sufferings, with eyes fixed on the eternal glory that awaits us in Christ."

  • "In prayer, the soul rises above earthly matters to those places where it learns about divine things and enjoys the benefits of communion with God." - St. Basil the Great


[1] 116:10  Here the psalmist tells how through all his trials and miseries he had not lost his faith.

[2] John 1:14 ... We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

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