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).
As a lifelong journal writer, New Year’s Eve is always a special time for me to pause and reflect on the past year. It helps me gain perspective, and prepare for a new beginning.
As we start this last day of 2016, there is much to review. What a year it’s been. While full of good things, it also seems this was a hard year for many people. For me, it was particularly difficult, with no repose. It was a struggle to stay afloat at times. Even with hope strong in my core, buoyancy was tremendously challenging, and discouragement a temptation. This was especially true when I tried to figure it out alone, with the waves of my whole world crashing down on me.
But, in a tough year like that, we have the chance to practice crucial skills: How to fight. How to be docile. How to endure. To not give up on the people we have been instructed to love. Life is no silver-screen movie, and no happy ending is promised. But we do know the Victor. It’s rigged—we skipped ahead and read the last chapter. Light wins.
As a dear friend wrote me on Christmas, “God has come into the midst of our daily lives, to suffer with us, to comfort us, and to save us.”
The storms will come, the fires will rage, our hearts will be shattered. But, as we still stand, bloodied, bruised, and broken, unable to see anything but the darkness veiling our eyes, we actually are strongest and the most human. Because at the end of these battles, it is there: the light emitted from the embers.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
No matter how prevalent the darkness is, it cannot overcome. Take comfort in that.
For many of us, 2016 was the year of the fight. Now, may our 2017 be the year of the light.
May we ask this light fill our eyes each morning.
May it overwhelm our hearts and put fire in our souls.
May it penetrate our thoughts and actions.
May it shine through our smile, encouraging every single person we see.
May our resistance be weakened.
May we choose to be authentic, vulnerable, passionate.
May we be humble enough to allow pure love to overtake us.
May we banish all fear, doubts, insecurities, lies.
May we seek silence, and listen for gentle whispers.
May we be jovial and childlike.
May we be simple.
May we grasp to goodness and gratitude.
May we be sweet, centered, and selfless.
May we be brave and let our hearts be raw and beat freely.
May we give wholly.
May light be the breath we breathe and the song that we sing.
Let us welcome this new year by stoking that burning ember. It will create bright light, one we should seek and cling to it every single day. It is there; it has not left us, and never will. Let us embark on 2017 with gladness and dancing. There are absolutely beautiful, life-giving things ahead.
Siempre adelante. (always ahead)
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.
Think back on your year of 2016. What were the good parts? What were the difficult parts? What have you learned, experienced, or grown in this past year?
As you begin 2017, what are the things you think the Lord might have in store for you? What beautiful ways can you already see that the Lord will work?
Amid difficulty for many of us, the reflection for today reminds us that there is ALWAYS hope to be found, that the Lord has already won the battle. How can you live out that reality more fully in your life? What can you do to live in the reality of Christ's victory more in this new year?
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.
"The light shines in the darkness"
"The Lord comes with joy and dancing"
"God saves us"
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?
Before this new year is fully up and running, stop and give yourself time to reflect on the past year and ask the Lord for goodness in the new year. Make a resolution that will allow you to focus on His light, His victory, His goodness more each day of 2017.
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 Andrea Scott, a graduate of Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio currently living in Washington D.C.