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).
Many of us are old enough to remember the day when white smoke came out of the chimney of the Sistine Chapel as the world watched and waited for the name of the newly elected pope. As soon as the cardinal who bears the great and good news comes out of the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica, there is so much excitement in the air; not only is there excitement in Rome, but everywhere as the world watches and listens to the announcement. As soon as the cardinal announces who was elected, he then follows with the new name which the whole of human race will call the new pope. Carol Cardinal Wojtyla became Pope John Paul II; Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger is Pope Benedict XVI, and our current holy father, Francis, was Jorge Cardinal Bergoglio.
What’s with the new name? Is this another Catholic invention?
Actually it was God who started this new name. Abram became Abraham in our first reading today, and Saul became Paul in the New Testament. These two are the most popular and well known historical accounts of God changing someone's name, and both were preceded by an encounter with God. God reveals Himself, man encounters God, and then God gives man a new name.
Remember in Genesis when God created everything that exists? He spoke and it was created. As He creates, He names His creation. The same is true as He re-creates them. When Abram’s faith was proven true, God made His covenant and with this new covenant, God gave a new name for our father in faith, Abraham.
In Jesus Christ, the Word Himself who was from the beginning, The Word did not simply speak but became Flesh and dwelt among us. In Jesus Christ, you and I have been re-created into a new creation. In Jesus Christ we see the greatest encounter between divinity and humanity. Unlike the Abraham story, God did not simply speak; rather, in the deepest encounter possible, God became one of us, struggled like us, worked like we do, laughed and wept like us, and suffered like us. He did all of this so that, in this utter humility and in the abasement of God, you and I might have a new name, pronounced by the mouth of the Lord. We are now slaves and aliens no longer, but sons and daughters of a merciful Father.
As sons and daughters, God claims us and never abandons us. Today, claim Him, too, both as your God and as your Father who constantly waits for your embrace.
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 the names you have been given, in Baptism and in your Confirmation? What is the significance of those names? How does God speak to you just through your name?
What does it mean to now be a son or a daughter of the merciful Father? How have you experienced that, and how do you long to experience it more deeply?
How does God want to claim you in a new way today? What part of your heart can you give over to Him, trusting that He will never leave or abandon you?
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 give me a new name."
"You are my merciful Father."
"I claim You as 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?
In today's reading, the only appropriate response to God giving Abraham his new name was for him and his descendants to keep God's covenant. Jesus, in living and teaching, explains that the covenant basically boils down to one thing: love. First and foremost, love for God; second, love for neighbor. In your day today, find ways to truly love, doing so out of the reality that God has claimed you as His child, and therefore you are free to love selflessly with everyone you meet.
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 Fr. Ervin Caliente, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.