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).
Whenever I read the passage from today’s first reading, there’s a part of me that struggles to understand God’s words. Why wasn’t Adam allowed to eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil? Was God holding out on him by not letting him eat the fruit of a tree that looked so tasty? And how come the human race fell just by taking a bite out of some fruit? Is it really that big of a deal?
But when I go back to take a second look at the first reading after hearing Jesus’ words in the Gospel, things start to make more sense to me. Jesus tells His disciples that despite what Jewish law at the time stated (law that was put in place by men to keep the Israelites from falling into the temptation to worship pagan gods), it didn’t matter what men ate. It wasn’t food that caused men to be sinful or unclean. Rather, it’s what is within our hearts that cause us to sin.
Suddenly, the actions of Adam and Eve in the garden make a whole lot more sense to me. It wasn’t about the fact that they ate the fruit--their great sin, the sin that lead to the Fall, was that they didn’t trust in the Lord’s goodness. They, like me when I first read this passage, let themselves believe that God was holding out on them. They let the evil serpent convince them that God told them not to eat the fruit because He didn’t want to share something good with them. They made the mistake of doubting who God is as a good Father.
So often in my own life, I fall into this trap. When God doesn’t give me exactly what I want when I think I should have it, I doubt His goodness. I start to wonder if He is holding out on me. Instead of trusting that His plan for my life is a good one, I start to think that I can only trust in my own plan for my life. And so often I find that this plan I had for myself--the plan that I made apart from God out of fear for His will--usually turns out to be a huge mess. But when I step forward in trust and surrender my desires to Him, He never fails to give me exactly what I need, and it’s always so much better than what I thought I wanted.
Is there a situation in your life right now where you feel like God is holding out on you? Do you doubt His goodness? If so, I invite you to take a moment to pray to Him about it. Surrender what it is that you want into His hands, and ask for the grace to trust that He has good things in store for you. When we step out in trust in this way, He takes the apple we wanted to grasp for and turns it into the most delicious apple pie.
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 think God is holding out on you? Do you doubt His goodness? Why?
What are some of your dreams and desires that you need to surrender in trust to the Lord?
When you look back on your life, how has the Lord proven His goodness and His love 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 never going to let me down."
"You're a good, good Father."
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?
Think of your biggest dream or your deepest desire, and surrender it to the Lord today. Give it to Him, and trust that He will fulfill it in bigger and better ways than you could ever imagine.
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 Catie Destatte, a St. Paul's Outreach Missionary at University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, MN.