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 have felt more and more the providential care of the Lord over the past few weeks, specifically in the lectionary readings. It could be that we are all in need of some hope in the midst of our present times, so we are finding it anywhere and everywhere, but I like to trust that the Lord is doing something specific to strengthen our weak knees. It’s no wonder that the words of the prophets in the time of Israel are speaking so poignantly to us as a Church—though we may not be in a physical exile like Israel was, we are experiencing a similar type of exile. Not being able to leave our homes to do all of the things we want to, limited time with our friends and loved ones, the concerns and anxieties about going back to school and to work, and especially not being able to get to Mass still—it is all a type of modern exile we are enduring as a Church. I have found a new love and understanding for Israel and for the words of the prophets, such as Jeremiah in today’s first reading, and a new appreciation for what a time of hopeful waiting can look like for each of us.
Israel was constantly being told that the Lord has not forsaken them, that his love and mercy continue even in the midst of their tribulation. They hear that there will be a time when the Lord will come back to them and draw them once more home to Jerusalem and their ancestral home. But in the midst of darkness, a far of spark can only illumine so much on the path of hope. It’s easy for us to say, “When everything is normal again...,” but with each week and month that passes, we begin to feel more hopeless about when that day will come. For many of us life has taken it has toll on our physical health, or emotional wellbeing, our relationships and connections to people, and on our spiritual lives. We are so disconnected and discouraged, and the hope for what has been promised to us, a time of joy and feasting, of peace and dancing with the Lord, is waning. It is in this struggle that the prophets have been speaking to my heart with so much more weight.
It is okay to feel discouraged and to struggle with hope—you are experiencing something that has been experienced before. The hope we need can be trusted in because we see the promises that the Lord makes through Jeremiah come to be. God keeps his promises! And if he came to help his firstborn, Israel, how much more can we rest assured that he will come to help us, his adopted sons and daughters? The Lord will make straight the path out of this present darkness and the far-off spark will become a blazing fire to illumine a future of hope. There’s a struggle in the waiting, but if we have hope, we will be able to rest in the Lord more easily. “A day will come when the watchmen will call out on Mount Ephraim: ‘Rise up, let us go to Zion, to the Lord, our God.’ The Lord has delivered his people…”
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.
Where do I feel forsaken, disconnected, or discouraged?
Where am I finding hope?
What is God speaking to my heart in the midst of the present struggles of life?
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.
"Deliver us, Lord."
"Help me find hope."
"You are the light in the darkness."
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?
Find a Bible verse, quote, picture, video, etc. that gives you hope today, and share it with someone else you know that is in need of hope right now.
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 Adam Smyth, the Life Teen Coordinator at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in the Woodlands, TX.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.