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).
In today’s Gospel, our Lord presents to us two characters, the Pharisee and the tax collector. Now if I’m being honest with myself, I have played the part of the Pharisee more than once in my life, but today as I reflect on the Word of God, it is the tax collector who catches my attention the most. We are told that this man, who was likely known for his dishonest treatment of others, walked away justified simply because he humbled himself before the Lord and called upon his mercy.
In all honesty, I don’t really find this all that surprising. To forgive someone who acknowledges their wrongfulness is a pretty classic Jesus move. No, what tugs most on my heart from this Gospel passage isn’t the Pharisee or even God’s response to the contrite tax collector, it’s a consistent, reoccurring question: how? How did the tax collector find the strength to accept God’s mercy? We are told that he went home justified, and it is no surprise to me that God forgave him, but how did he allow the truth of that forgiveness manifest itself in his heart?
So often in my own life, it is clear that the primary barrier keeping me from God’s merciful love is not that the Lord isn’t constantly offering me his mercy, it’s my own inability to accept it. Despite what I know to be true about God’s mercy (i.e. that it has absolutely no bounds), I sometimes find myself listening to the voice of the enemy telling me that I am not worthy of forgiveness, or that my sins are too great.
But these lies are rooted in a misunderstanding of God’s mercy. For the Lord himself said to St. Faustina: “The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy.” It must have been this truth of God’s merciful love that the tax collector knew as he confidently placed his brokenness before the Lord. So today, as we reflect on the Gospel, let us pray for increased confidence in the power of God’s mercy, for no sin is so great that the God of the Universe cannot overcome it.
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 are some areas of your life where you could better live out the virtue of humility?
What keeps you from receiving God's mercy? What are some lies you hear or misconceptions you have about the Lord and his love for you?
How will you find the strength to admit your faults and accept God's mercy?
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.
"Lord, have mercy."
“The greater the sinner, the greater the right he has to My mercy.”
"O God, be merciful to me a sinner."
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?
In humble trust, place all of your faults and sins before the Lord in prayer. Like the tax collector, ask Him to have mercy on you, and pray for an increased confidence in the power of His mercy.
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 Lauren Wright, an Adore Missionary and Youth Minister in Rockford, IL.