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).
“It gleamed with the splendor of God. Its radiance was like that of a precious stone" (Rev 21:11, NAB)
I have the same conversation with my dad every time we go to a Cubs game. It goes something like this: “You know dad, I've been pretty lucky to go to a lot of beautiful places: the leaning Tower of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House, but I don't think I've ever seen as beautiful of a place as Wrigley Field.” And he usually responds with: “you are my daughter.” And those three hours spent with my dad feel like a little bit of heaven.
“Is this heaven?”
“No. It's Iowa.”
This iconic movie line from Field of Dreams is pretty aligned with how I feel; a baseball field is one of the most beautiful, symmetrical things man has ever created. It gleams with the sun and a perfect afternoon game. But, as beautiful as Wrigley Field or a baseball diamond in the middle of a cornfield is, it pales in comparison to the beauty of heaven, which today's First Reading offers us a small glimpse into.
“It gleamed with the splendor of God. Its radiance was like that of a precious stone” (Rev 21:11, NAB).
It's hard to have a mental picture of heaven. Every earthly thing we find to be beautiful doesn't even come close. The imagery in today's reading of radiance and splendor tell us of the great beauty and majesty, but it even with these words it is hard for us to understand. The closest we get to the beauty of heaven isn't found in national landmarks, natural wonders or in baseball diamonds. No, where we get a real taste of heaven is in the Mass.
In Mass heaven meets Earth. In that moment, the two worlds are connected, and at Mass we are joined by the angels, the saints and, of course, Jesus Himself. Mass is the pinnacle of beauty here on Earth. The beauty that is in the first reading is available to us at every Mass.
But do you see it? Do you see Jesus truly present? Do you join in with the choirs of angels? Or are you bored? Do you complain about the preaching, or do you fully participate in every Liturgy no matter how entertaining the homily is?
The reality is, if we truly understood the beauty of Mass and how it gives us a small glimpse of the beauty of heaven, we wouldn't be bored. We should be so in awe of the beauty of our Lord that Mass is the highlight of our week, or even our day. Time spent with our Lord should always point us to the true beauty that is heaven.
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 of the most beautiful places you've been? How about some of those beautiful places that you get to go to on a regular basis? Why are these so beautiful and important to you?
When you go to Mass, what are some of your normal experiences? Is it hard for you to encounter Jesus in a life-changing way there? Why or why not?
How can you allow yourself to be more present to what is truly happening at Mass and the beauty of that moment?
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.
"You are beautiful."
"I love Your presence."
"I worship You, my God."
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?
Go to daily Mass. Sometime in the next few days, make time to get to daily Mass in addition to the normal Sunday Mass you attend. It might mean waking up on a Saturday. It might mean going before school or an evening some time. Whenever it is, get to daily Mass and encounter God there.
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 Lisa Kendzior, Junior High Youth Minister at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.