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).
Today’s Gospel passage from Matthew begs some questions for us to consider:
Are you perfect? Have you been perfect your entire life? Have you never sinned against God at any point? Since none of us are the Immaculate Conception, we can be sure that all of us must answer NO to all three of these questions.
Do you believe that you are truly forgiven when you go to Reconciliation? Do you know and trust that Jesus Himself has pardoned you after you’ve shared your sins and you’ve heard the words of absolution spoken by the priest? Are you grateful for the gift of the sanctifying grace that has cleansed your soul before you’ve even stepped out of the confessional? I hope that all of us can answer YES to all three of these questions.
Now, has there ever been anyone that has offended you, hurt you, snubbed you, or otherwise wounded you in any way? Do you find that you are harboring resentment or anger in your heart towards any of these people? Are you holding on to that anger rather than seeking a temperament that lets you get beyond the bitterness and hostility you’ve adopted? If you’ve honestly admitted that these last two questions apply to you, then please, step back, relax, and take a moment to contrast your reluctance to forgive these transgressions against you with God's unconditional mercy poured out for you each time you repent and approach him during Reconciliation.
How much more consequential are the sins that separate us from God and Heaven than the offenses we mortal beings commit against each other? Truly they don’t even compare. There is no tragedy more momentous than for us to find ourselves at odds with God. Still, we all do sin and hurt God at times, and bring this tragedy upon ourselves. Therefore, all of us should strive to receive God’s mercy and forgiveness with the thankfulness and appreciation that it truly warrants, because His merciful absolution, which cleanses our souls and allows us to become one with Him again, is one of the highest and most significant gifts we will ever receive.
We all do sin against each other at times as well. Since we are all shown God’s mercy for the monumental offenses we commit against Him, we MUST in turn, find it within our hearts to pour out our own mercy, and forgive the comparatively minor offenses committed against us. In doing so, we are allowing Jesus to dwell within us, and participating directly in God’s infinite love. We MUST forgive, simply because we are forgiven.
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 find it hard to accept God's mercy in your life? Why or why not?
Do you find it hard to forgive others? Why or why not? Why do you think it is important to forgive? Why does God stress the importance of it?
Do you find it hard to forgive yourself? Why or why not? If God has already forgiven you, why is it hard for us to forgive ourselves sometimes? How can you work on forgiving yourself better?
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.
"Thank your for your mercy Lord."
"I forgive you."
"God is Merciful."
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?
If you need forgiveness go to confession... today! Don't push it off any longer. And if you are harboring any hatred towards anyone, confess that and forgive them, even if you aren't ready to say it to their face, forgive them in your heart.
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 Jim Lundgren, a parishioner at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.