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).
The passage from Sirach that we encounter today is especially timely, given the rise in relativistic ideology that has permeated today’s culture. On one hand, we are deeply saddened as we watch the repercussions unfold from the uplifting of “personal truth” over authentic Truth and misguided compassion mistaken for authentic love. Nonetheless, Sirach reminds us that a true felix culpa, a “happy fault,” runs through the heart of our gift of free will.
Oh happy fault that we were not conceived as remote-control robots in the Lord’s toy chest! Instead, the Lord imposed the self-weakness of the Cross on His own heart so that our hearts might be given the capacity to experience authentic love, a choice. With the power of such great choice resting in the palm of our hands comes the yoke of such great responsibility on our shoulders.
When it comes to life and death, I choose both. In a world that so often makes “me” the center of my own universe, I choose to lay down my selfish, worldly desires, allowing them to die at the wayside. I ask that the Lord might crucify me alongside Him, so that in my death-to-self I might actually start living.
When it comes to fire and water, to both I outstretch my hand. I ask that the Lord’s healing water might wash over my tendency toward sin, cleansing me and claiming me, only to inflame me with the fire of a love that makes real what it professes to be true.
Despite this natural order foreseen in hope by our loving Father as He places free will in our hands and responsibility on our shoulders, we, silly humans, are masters of manipulation. Our society has grabbed control of both fire and water, making the gift of free will a victim of subtle manipulation as Truth is diluted and tolerance is exalted, set ablaze by misguided compassion.
Stemming from this pattern, today we are seeing our most precious and beautiful gifts so often attacked the very hardest. Take, for instance, the manipulation of the love between a husband and a wife or the gift of taking part in the creation of a child. But oh happy fault, these seeds have the capacity to flower into the greatest good or wither into the greatest evil depending on the resolve of the tiller, free-willer.
This path that humankind is drifting down has changed our vision. We have claimed ownership over free will, as if it were owed to us rather than a gift offered to us by One whom our souls long to live in imitation of.
As so many of us are turning to this vision, the army of the faithful is growing smaller but mightier. From life and death, fire and water, these faithful will bear forth Christ’s love in this world, allowing it to ultimately triumph over evil and despair. Life and death, fire and water. Oh happy fault, the choice lies before us.
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.
How have you seen free will misused in your life? In the world?
You make many choices each day. What the choices facing you today?
God has given you free will to choose to love Him or disobey Him. Which will you choose today?
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.
"I choose God."
"Oh happy fault!"
"Lord, show me the Truth."
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?
Choose to love the Lord today, even when it gets hard and even if the people around you are not making the same choice. Use your free will to love the Lord and those around you.
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 Antonio Marchi, Program Manager for St. Joseph County Right to Life in South Bend, IN, and Jennifer Marchi, K-8 Resource Teacher at Mishawaka Catholic School in Mishawaka, IN.