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).
Imagine John later in life, years after the events of the Gospel, writing this letter. His tone is joyful but imploring, almost pleading. "You guys," he seems to be saying, "this is real. I saw this!" The truth about Jesus Christ is that, on our own, we all deserve hell, misery, and sadness; but because God chose to send His Son to Earth to die for us, instead there is the possibility in this world so filled with suffering of joy, lightness, peace, and happiness which will continue on forever and forever. This truth is not just an idea, a myth, something that was invented just to make us feel better. This story is real, and it's the greatest thing that's ever happened. You see, if all of that didn't happen, then we're toast. Life is actually meaningless, and even worse, hopeless without this truth. Jesus Christ, if He rose from the dead, is the only thing that matters. If He didn't, then nothing matters. This is where the urgency comes into John's voice.
Imagine you were stranded on a desert island and saw a ship. You'd run screaming back to the other members of your party. "GUYS, WE'RE SAVED." This is John's tone. I imagine him writing this and almost getting choked up, remembering the amazing days when they walked on Earth with the Son of God, his heart filled with longing to be with Him again in Heaven. "What we have seen with our eyes, what we looked upon, and touched with our hands concerns the Word of life...for the life was made visible." It's real. I saw Him. It's true.
A friend of mine was talking to a girl who didn't believe in God one time. He explained to her what it means that Jesus died and rose for us, the great hope and joy that invades the life of the Christian when he realizes that he has been known and loved by God even in his sin and redeemed by him. She listened thoughtfully to him and then closed the conversation by saying, "Sounds too good to be true." Her heart, so broken by the sufferings of life, must have resonated with this great story because it provides all of the answers to the questions the heart didn't even always know it had. Something in the heart breaks and opens up, heals and is filled up, when the Word of Life encounters it. Sensing the great promise of this mystery, she couldn't even begin to hope that it could be true. John can proclaim the hope in Jesus Christ because he saw the tomb empty. "Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed." (John 20:8) If the tomb is empty, then everyone in the entire world has hope, if they turn from their sin and run to Christ.
The imploring, pleading tone of John is at the same time filled with the confidence who saw the stone rolled away, who looked into the tomb and saw that the Jesus whom he had seen crucified was simply not there. He is risen, and He shall reign forever. It is not that John thinks there might be possibly a chance for some who come to believe. John KNOWS that there is life in Jesus Christ. He saw it with his own eyes.
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.
Do you believe in the truth that Jesus became a human and died for you? Whether you struggle with this or are totally convinced: what does this mean if it really is true? How can that change you today in this Christmas season?
John is so joyful and bold when he talks about Jesus, yet so often we are careful and timid. If this is a life-saving truth why are we so often timid to share it? Spend some time really thinking about this one... if we have the life-saving truth why are we not more excited and ready to share it?
How can you share the truth and love of Christ in a more bold and joyful way? It is important to remember that you do not need to be "in people's faces," but how can you act, live, and speak in a way that makes people want to know Jesus more?
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.
"Jesus is real."
"So that our Joy may be complete."
"Joy to the world."
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 Lord bear fruit in you today?
Take some time to relfect on what God has done in your life. Work with someone, like your youth minister, on writing a breif witness to what He has done. Be prepared to share a personal way the Lord has worked in your life with those who notice your joy and want to be more joyful as well.
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 Tim Glemkowski, Youth & Young Adult Minister at Holy Cross Catholic Church in Batavia, IL.