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 wonder if, after the Angel Gabriel announced his message to Our Lady, the young Virgin immediately answered with her famous words or if there was a slight pause. Sometimes I like to contemplate the thoughts she contemplated if there was a pause after the angel’s rather striking announcement.
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux wrote that the moment after the angel’s announcement was the moment when all of heaven and earth waited with baited breath on a teenage girl’s reply. Mary, so young and so fair - someone who in the eyes of the world seemed so powerless - had all of heaven waiting.
So, what was she thinking?
Mary certainly had hopes and dreams, she had her own fears and anxieties. Maybe she wanted to be a good wife and mother. Maybe she wanted a big family, maybe Mary would have wanted young daughters to teach and with whom she could form friendships, the kind of friendships that only exist between a mother and her daughters. I’ll bet, as Mary was a young girl, she never dreamed of the stigma that would be attached to a Pre-marital Palestinian Pregnancy. I’ll bet she never dreamed of watching her only son get crucified. I’ll bet Mary had to give a lot of her dreams and desires up in order to fulfill God’s plans for her in salvation history.
What’s so beautiful about this Gospel is that we don’t hear any negotiating skills at work. We don’t hear any discussion. No deal making. All we hear is, “Yes”. Yes, Lord, I’ll do it! Yes, Lord, I’ll bring Jesus into the world. Today we celebrate Mary’s Immaculate Conception. She was preserved from sin and corruption by the singular and redemptive work of Jesus Christ. Despite her plans, Christ created Mary Immaculate to carry out His plans and not her own. Mary had a very specific and honorable role in the history of the entire human race.
So. Do. You.
God has created you marvelously unique. You have a privileged role in your own redemption but also in the redemption of all those in your sphere of influence. Today God invites you, like the Virgin Mary, to cooperate in the salvation of the entire human race. He wants you to bring Jesus into the world. He wants Jesus to become enfleshed in your body; our God asks you to be Christ to those you meet, and, all of heaven and earth waits with baited breath on your reply.
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 do you imagine was going through the mind of the Blessed Mother in that moment with Gabriel? What would you be thinking if God asked of you a task that was so profound and unexpected?
How often do you have plans you haven't given over the Lord? How can you better trust His plans instead of your own?
In what ways do you believe God is calling you to bring Jesus to those you meet today?
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.
"Be it done according to Your Word."
"I trust You, Lord."
"Come, Holy Spirit."
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?
Today, pick a situation where you know you'll have a chance to bring Christ into your daily life, and make that happen. Maybe you mention Him to a friend. Maybe you love someone who is often rejected. Maybe it's the way you act around your family. Whatever it is, pick a concrete way to take up your privileged role and bring Christ into your life.
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. Jon Bakkelund, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.