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).
I really got into my faith when I was in high school. I stocked up on my religious t-shirts, listened mostly to Christian music, and collected Christian posters. I did all the retreats, joined my church’s youth group, and became a part of the leadership team there. I felt that I was undergoing a major transformation.
Or so I thought.
Then I got to college and brought all my Christian apparel and collectibles with me. I got involved in all the campus ministry activities I could. I was pleased with myself for how all-in I was for Jesus.
One day I was talking with a friend of mine who had a close relationship with Jesus. We were having a nice discussion, and then suddenly it took a turn. She pointed out to me that while I wore the t-shirts and attended the Catholic events, it seemed that my love for Jesus didn’t expand beyond that. It’s not that those things are bad, they can be awesome for our faith. But her impression was that while my wardrobe had changed, my heart and life had not.
I wasn’t evangelizing, wasn’t sharing my faith with others. I talked more about all the stuff I did than about the One for whom I did it. I wore Jesus, but I didn’t live Jesus. I was convinced of my own holiness based on my excellent “performance” in the faith. What I needed was a big dose of humility and to realize that my holiness doesn’t come from my accomplishments, it comes from the mercy and grace of God.
After that conversation I ran before Jesus in the tabernacle and cried like a baby (I can be a little dramatic).
That conversation hurt. A lot. But I’m so grateful that my friend had the courage and love to bring it up. That was a major turning point for me. After that, I strove to not focus on all the little superficial things I did that I thought made me a follower of Christ. Instead, I poured my heart into the task that St. Paul laid out for us today:
“Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly… since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self…”
That day Jesus filled me with a desire to “put on the new self.” I yearned to stop just labeling myself as a disciple of Christ, but to become a disciple of Christ to my core. To examine my conscience and root out the sin in my life. To trust in His mercy and grace rather than my own abilities. To devote myself more fully to daily prayer. To share the love and mercy of Christ with others. To let my life be “renewed in the image of its creator.”
Today’s reading makes one thing clear: we are not to simply act different. Our hearts and lives shouldn’t be the same today as they were before we began striving to live for Jesus. We are to take off the old self and put on a new self that is truly transformed, made new, and renewed in the image of the creator, our Lord.
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.
Are you just wearing Jesus? Or are you living Jesus?
How is the Lord transforming your heart today?
What will you do to develop more of an interior life of prayer and devotion to the Lord?
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.
"Put on a new self."
"Lord, transform my heart."
"I trust in your mercy and grace."
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?
Put your trust in the Lord's mercy and grace. Focus more on the interior disposition of your heart and your personal relationship with the Lord than on your exterior looks or acts.
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 Dan Wolff, High School Youth Minister at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.