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).
Growing up, my family always joked with me about being like a bull in a china shop. By no fault of my own, I somehow ended up breaking things way too frequently. Well, I suppose it was usually my fault. I was never able to be very gentle with toys, sports equipment, and household furniture. As time went on and I grew stronger, there were times when I kept breaking things or ruining things because I struggled to find the balance between strength and gentleness. As I began a relationship with the Lord, I found that my struggle in being gentle also transferred to my ability to love other people and share the Good News of Jesus Christ.
I quickly found out that being right or thinking I was so smart because I could win arguments and state the case for Jesus and the Church was actually doing more harm than good in my efforts to evangelize. I learned that people, even if they really needed to hear the Gospel, were turned off by my abrasive attitude and desire to win arguments and start theological fights with them. I thought Jesus wanted me to convince the world of how great he was and how important a relationship with him is! But what I failed to realize was that he called me to do this with gentleness and love.
Today's first reading from Isaiah describes to us the way in which Jesus wins hearts. This beautiful, anointed servant of the Lord will come in gentleness to bring justice to the world. Unlike me, He doesn't do it by winning arguments with shouting and loudness - he doesn't smother people by telling them they're wrong. Scripture paints a picture of a gentle man, one who bring justice and light into a world of darkness with love and compassion.
God is more pleased with gentleness than arguments won. He is more concerned with love and compassion than people who crusade to prove others wrong. The Lord calls each of us to evangelize, to spread the news of his salvation to all of the earth. How often do we forget the gentleness and compassion of Jesus? How often do we forget that Jesus was quick to listen and forgive instead of argue and fight with others?
As we continue to evangelize and spread the news of Jesus Christ to those we encounter, let's remember the gentle Savior that Isaiah describes to us and concern ourselves more with loving others in gentleness than winning them over with shouting and arguments.
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.
When is a time you tried to share the truth with someone? How did that go?
Do you find yourself prone to trying to argue with others and prove to them why they're wrong? How can you work through that in your efforts to love?
What does it mean to you to imagine Jesus as a "Gentle Savior" as He is described in Isaiah? How does that Gentle Savior want to speak to your heart today and remind you of the deep, abiding love He has for you?
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.
"You are gentle."
"Teach me to love."
"You are my Savior."
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?
Today, share the truth with someone gently and lovingly. This may look different than usual; it may be difficult for you simply because you don't often share the truth. No matter who you are, though, share the truth today gently and lovingly, and see how the Lord works in that gentleness and love.
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 Adam Smyth, a high school youth minister at Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish in Ellicott City, MD.