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 is honestly my favorite day of the year! I know that sounds exaggerated, but it is so true! We are in an amazing time of year preparing for Christmas: spiritually, in society, and with our families. Tomorrow is my birthday, so I am always excited about that! Just last week we had one of my favorite Holy Days, the Immaculate Conception. And today is the great feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Americas! There are so many awesome things going on (and not so awesome things like midterms and finals), but in the midst of it all, our great Heavenly Mother reaches out and guides us. It actually is the perfect way to celebrate my birthday every year, by putting Mary first. Mary is not just someone to be honored though, she is someone we are invited to have an intimate relationship with! She has become one of the most important people in my life, and I pray that you can have a relationship with her like I have been blessed with. In the Gospel of John, Jesus gives us Mary as our own mother, and we should never take this great gift for granted.
Every reading today (with all the options included) could have been amazing to reflect on; it truly is an amazing day! However, I decided to go with the Responsorial Psalm from Judith, a book many of us probably forgot existed. Like so much of the Old Testament, there is such a beautiful foreshadowing in this reading. We have the great blessing to be able to read this with the light of Mary shed on it, so we can see the deeper meaning. Mary is truly the only human (who is not also God) to live perfectly as she was created. She is “the highest honor of our race,” the human race, and she is so because she let the Holy Spirit guide her every move. She reflects the Love of God the way we are all meant to, but we let sin stain and hinder that reflection in our lives. Mary is not an unattainable goal for us to strive for, she is a person, Our Mother, who we are called to love and learn from.
The best part of all of this is that every time we grow closer to Mary, we also grow closer to Jesus, since everything Mary does points to Him! We can be confident that she will only lead us to God, and as we heard from many saints (and in our reflection on the Immaculate Conception): a relationship and pure devotion to Mary is the quickest and easiest way to grow closer to Christ. Let’s not only honor Our Great Mother today, let’s love her and grow closer to Jesus by growing closer to her.
Momma Mary, pray for 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.
As you are preparing for Christmas, what is in the forefront of your mind? Have you joined the journey of Mary preparing for Jesus in a new and powerful way, or have you let the distractions get in the way?
What is your relationship with Mary like? Have you let her be your Heavenly Mother? How can you relate to her more in this way?
How would your relationship with Jesus grow if you grew closer to Mary? How can you follow in her humble example to be a better reflection of His Love in this world 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.
"Momma Mary, pray for us."
"Totus Tuus Maria." (Totally Yours, Mary)
"Lead me to Jesus."
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?
It is time to kick our advent prayer into gear. Life is crazy with midterms, finals, and all the joys of the season, but we must remember to prepare as Mary did for the coming of Jesus. Research a Marian devotion today, or come up with your own devotion to her, and let her be your guide through the rest of advent in preparation for Christmas.
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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 Sean Norris, Youth Minister at Our Lady of the Wayside Parish in Arlington Heights, IL.
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