Visio Divina for 4/8/11 – “Raising of Lazarus” – Day 6 (Contemplating)


 Notice the transforming presence of God within you. Let go of words and images. Surrender all that is stirring, even if only briefly, and rest for a few minutes in God’s embrace.



In the “contemplation” segment of Visio Divina, we are to let go of words and images and allow ourselves to rest in God.

I have prayed with this illumination and text many times over the past two months, and as I sat down to pray with this again, I noticed an inner sense of calm and relief…and a little smile on my face.  I realized the source of this calm was a deep knowing: God will always come for us.  God will always come for us…no matter what.  Before Jesus chose to enter hostile territory again in order to respond to Martha and Mary’s plea, he said to his disciples: “This illness does not lead to death; rather it is for God’s glory, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it” (John 11:4).  Jesus’ choice to come reveals not only who he really is – this also reveals who God really is…and what God is really like.  God will always come for us.  This is hard to believe if you’ve been in that “tomb” for a long time; it’s hard to hang onto that if you’re struggling with the ‘burial bands’ of addiction, shame, grief, or anger; and sometimes you may need to shout out to God as Jesus did on the cross: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  You may need others in your “community of healers” to uphold you, and to help you carry your burden, as you struggle to sit up in your “tomb,” and as you decide whether or not to take another step toward that light.  All of that is part of the journey…and all of it is prayer.

Verse 35 in this chapter of John states that Jesus wept: I see that as part of his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus knew what his raising of Lazarus would lead to, and he chose it anyway.  This is the source of my sense of calm and relief…again…God always comes for us.

As we move toward Holy Week, perhaps this is a time to hold silence, and become more aware of the choices Jesus made for us…long before he reached Gethsemane.

This leads to a question for each of us to ponder: What are my choices leading to?

–Amie Schumacher

©Raising of Lazarus, Donald Jackson 2002, The Saint John’s Bible, Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota.  Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

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