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).
Two months ago I moved back home to Illinois from Colorado and, let me tell you, times of transition can be hectic. You're learning new schedules, new routines; everything is just kind of thrown off. With the crazy new schedule also came a little laxity with my workout/healthy eating routine and I caught myself feeling a little bit tighter in the old dress slacks a week ago for Sunday mass.
"Simple," I thought to myself, "I'll just get back to working out and eating healthy and I'll drop a couple in no time!" I've been eating smaller portions at each meal, not snacking between meals, and especially not eating my favorite dessert: vanilla ice cream. The funny thing about commitments though, is how quickly our dedication to that commitment fades. This morning, while getting ready for the day, I was feeling a pound or two lighter, so, of course, my first thought was about how in a week or so, I could go back to eating "normally" and skip this whole healthy eating thing.
Then the thought occurred to me: if I really want to stay physically fit, and not just keep going back and forth putting the pounds on and taking them off, then I should really stick to these healthy eating habits for a long time. Like, kinda forever. Maybe go back to the occasional dessert, but, in reality, if physical fitness is a goal that I actually want to achieve, this needs to become a lifetime thing, not just something I do for a week or two at a time.
The same is true of prayer. It's amazing how God writes icons of spiritual realities into more tangible things that we experience. The life of prayer, of growing in intimacy with God and, subsequently, greater holiness, mimics physical fitness really closely. Prayer is like exercise, tuning the soul to function properly in love of God and neighbor. Turning away from sin in our lives is like diet, starving ourselves of the disordered inclinations we all experience for things that will not actually satisfy our hearts deepest desires.
It can be daunting sometimes to think about being good for the rest of our lives. Will I never have any fun? Will my whole life just be boring? In order to experience the full joy of a life spent with Christ, we have to allow ourselves to get over the initial hump while our tastebuds adjust. Over time, we will come to see that a life of virtue offers the greatest adventure possible and that the life of sin spent chasing our own disordered desires just keeps us locked in as one of the "pack." Everyone else is living that way, and that's why we want to do it, but everyone else doesn't realize that they are slowly killing their soul. You weren't made just to be like "everyone else," another imitator of what the world offers as a fake happiness. You were made for love. You were made for greatness.
It can be kinda crazy to think about the fact that we will have to pray every day for the rest of our lives. One thing that helps is to break down that commitment into a "today" commitment. Not to think about every day, but just the fact that we are called to encounter and be filled by God's love today.
Jesus also offers us the antidote in today's Gospel reading in the very last line. He says, "When the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?" The desire for prayer flows from a real and ardent faith, and sometimes that faith needs to be stirred up. We can get distracted and forget to stoke the flame of faith in our heart by putting before ourselves the reality that (1) God exists, (2) He is love, and (3) He wants to give me that love. It can be helpful to begin our prayer by simply uttering the phrase, "God is here," so that our faith is enflamed. That way, when the Son of Man comes to meet us in the recesses of our heart, He will encounter such fullness of faith that He can find a place to make His home.
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 is your commitment to prayer like right now? Is it difficult to find time to pray, or have your "tastebuds adjusted" to this reality well? Take some time to take stock of where you are.
What is your commitment to prayer today?
Do you realize, when you sit down to pray, that "(1) God exists, (2) He is love, and (3) He wants to give me that love."? How can you be more mindful of those realities?
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 here."
"God is love."
"He wants me to know His 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 Lord bear fruit in you today?
Really take the time to be present to God in your prayer today, and then through that to be present to those around you. Don't worry about the commitment to pray in a year or 40 years, just be present to Him today.
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.