Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
There’s an idea floating around a lot of society today that almost everyone is a “good” person. After all, we’re not a bunch of murderers. We don’t steal, we’re generally nice, and yeah we make mistakes and might not always make the best decisions, but that’s good enough, right?
This is the mindset Jesus challenges in today’s Gospel: this man is “good”, but he’s not understanding the full purpose of it. He’s following all the commandments about “rules”: he does the right thing, he’s a generally good person, he hasn’t killed anyone, awesome. So he’s good, right?
Nope. This kind of mentality is exactly why Jesus says “Why do you ask me about the good?”. Rather than trying to be mean and confusing, Jesus saw right through this man and is trying to test him. Jesus is getting this man to see that in the end, it’s not enough to just “do” good, we need to be good as well. And you know what’s good? Love. Love is perpetually good in every way. True love isn’t bad; after all, being “bad” goes against the nature of love. God is love, and God is good. Jesus says “there is only One who is good”, because there is only One who is Love. Jesus is trying to direct this man ultimately to God, reminding him of the big reason behind all the good he’s doing.
Unfortunately, love is exactly what this man is missing. This man knows just “doing good” isn’t enough, which is why he asks “what do I still lack?”. He has all the “basic” commandments down, but all the remaining commandments that Jesus didn’t mention are the ones commanding us to love. This is what really taking that next step, into the deep, is all about. It’s about love, about doing everything for God and others rather than just yourself. Ultimately, this man’s desire to be "good” is selfish, seeking to further his own possessions, status, and lifestyle. In order to actually be good, the purpose of what we do needs to change. We need to be doing things for others rather than ourselves, with a focus on God and those around us rather than turning inward. And that’s hard.
So what is it that you love? What’s the driving force behind your actions? Are you just being a good person, or are you taking that next step, going above and beyond, to actually love those around you? Doing good meets the bare minimum, but Jesus never calls us to the minimum; it’s all or nothing, we’re either in or out.
This man let his possessions get in the way of actively trying to love those around you. Don't let anything get your way like possessions did for him.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
What might be holding you back from loving others in your life? How can you let go of those things?
Do you only do the bare minimum to do good, or are you truly striving to be good? How can you do more to be good?
What are some ways you can love people better? Who can you love better?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"God is love."
"God is good."
"Teach me to love."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Find the things that are holding you back from this life changing love; the things that hold you to just doing good instead of being good. Take some practical step to carefully and gently cleanse your life of these things.
Smartphone Lock Screen
The following image is here for you to save and use as a background or lock screen on your smartphone or device to help you carry today's Lectio Divina with you the rest of the day.
Today's prayer was prepared by Tatiana Schaffer, a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying Engineering and Psychology.