My Lectio Divina topics as applied to the “Lectio” phase have gone from me choosing the small phrases to ponder to letting go in favor of the Holy Spirit challenging me to make it fit with Philippians 2:5, my personal center. The results are always beyond my wildest expectations and have led me to the last phase of my life, that of seeking how I fit into whatever God gives me to consider. In the early part of my life, Faith was like sitting in a comfortable chair and dozing off now and then. Now, Faith is like putting on the breastplate and helmet to fight the hidden enemies that seek to derail my Lay Cistercian resolve. One such temptation is jealousy. In ancient mythology, Loki was jealous of Thor and the resultant behavior was dissonance rather than resonance.

Jealousy sometimes gets a backstage press report to its first cousin, Pride, and Envy. When I think of Jealousy, I remember that Lucifer, the Archangel that fell from grace, due to pride, and experienced temptations of jealousy that preceded the fall. Jealousy of someone else has to do with self-esteem. In the spiritual universe, Jealousy predates any of the sins. It is true in Genesis 2-3 for Adam and Eve. It is true for you and me. When I am jealous, I want to be like someone else. I always remember looking at my grading lists in High School to see where I was ranked among the two hundred persons in my class. I kept looking at those at the top of the report and wishing I could trade places with them. My grades were atrocious in High School. While jealousy might not seem a big deal in the physical and mental universes, Jealousy in the spiritual universe paves the way to weaken my resolve to do good because I focus on what is not real and unattainable for me. Lucifer must have been Jealous of God for a long time before he just quit.

I love this passage from St. Paul describing the charisms of being a follower of The Master.

If I speak in human and angelic tongues* but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.a2And if I have the gift of prophecy and comprehend all mysteries and all knowledge; if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing.b3If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.c4* Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated,d5it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury,e6it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth.7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.f8* Love never fails. If there are prophecies, they will be brought to nothing; if tongues, they will cease; if knowledge, it will be brought to nothing.9For we know partially and we prophesy partially,10but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.11When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things.12At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.g13* So faith, hope, love remain, these three;h but the greatest of these is love.

For a Lay Cistercian, conversion of life is about small wins and small losses. St. Paul asks us to get rid of those qualities of our false self to, as St. Benedict writes in Chapter 4 of his Rule, “to prefer nothing to the love of Christ.” If jealousy is a roadblock, take it down.


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