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).
Have you ever heard someone say something that you just knew immediately would be something you'd never forget? Some line, maybe a song lyric, maybe something a friend told you or a teacher said, that from the second you heard it something changed in the way your life was going to play out, or in the way you thought, or prayed, or lived?
For the Jewish people, what Moses said to them today was one of those moments: "Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone! Therefore, you shall love the LORD, your God, with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength" (Deuteronomy 6:4-5, NAB). Moses tells the people to memorize these words, to live by them, to teach them to their children, to share them with everyone that they meet, and to always have them on their tongues.
Why are these words so important?
These words - what became this prayer known as the Shema and still recited by Jewish people today - are so vitally important because if we know the Lord, if we want to follow, these words remind us every time we hear them that following the Lord is not a part-time or a small thing. The LORD is God, and therefore He deserves everything.
When we think, when we love, when we dream, when we raise children, when we meet strangers, the fact that our God is Lord needs to be central to what we say and do. When we make our calendar - He gets to be Lord of that. When we make money - He gets to be Lord of that. When we have friendships or dating relationships - He gets to be Lord of that. When we listen to music or watch movies or netflix - He gets to be Lord of that.
Are you starting to get the picture?
If we want to follow a true life of discipleship, God doesn't just get some things; He gets everything. In today's reading, Moses reminds the people of what is promised: a great land, with goods, and land, and food, a land which the people did not have to buy or work for, but one that was given to them by the Lord. For the Israelites, this was the promised land that they would find after 40 years in the desert, but this promise does not end when they enter the land that would be their kingdom.
No, this same promise - the one of a land that vast, beautiful, and fulfilling, the promise of a place to call our own with beauty we could not imagine and abundance we do not deserve - is given to you and I in Jesus Christ. Our Kingdom, we learn in Jesus, is not of this world, our Kingdom, our Promised Land, is an eternity in heaven with the One who made us, the One who truly is Lord.
If the land He promises is good - and, my friends, it truly is - then we should stop at nothing to get to this land. Why did the Israelites need to remember these words so clearly and drill them into their children? Because without the knowledge that the Lord is Lord of all, we can lose sight of what our lives are truly about, and we might lose sight of the land that He promised. With Him as the Lord of everything in our lives, though - from spotify to Youtube to way we treat those we encounter each and every day - we will learn what it means to truly enter into the promised land. We'll begin to see the abundance of a life lived in relationship with Him here on this earth, and eventually get to that place where we will not be tempted to forget Him or turn or away, for we will see the Beauty and Goodness for which we were all created.
The question comes back to each of us today - as this summer winds down and the new school year and all that comes with it rapidly approaches, who is the Lord of my life? And have I given Him everything?
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 parts of my heart or my life do I still keep back from the Lord sometimes? Why don't I give Him everything?
What would it look like in my life to truly long for heaven and eternity with the Lord? Do I ever give myself time to think about that great promised land?
How can I keep the reality that Jesus is the Lord of every part of my life with me each day? How does that change my calendar? My relationships? My free time? What ways can I set up that I will be reminded of Him in each moment and with each decision?
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 Lord is our God."
"I love You with all my heart."
"I give You everything."
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?
Add concrete reminders into your daily life of the fact that you've given everything over to God. You could set alarms on your phone, write times of prayer into your calendar, leave notes in places you go throughout the day, or sign up for a holy hour at your local church. You might even do all of those things. Give yourself concrete reminders which you will see each day that Jesus is Lord, and then when you see them pause to turn your heart and mind to Him.
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 Jason Theobald, Director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntley, IL.