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).
When I was a sophomore in college, I had the blessing of studying abroad in Europe with some of my closest friends. Some of the funniest, most embarrassing, moments of my life come from that semester abroad, so please, if you ever want a good story, hit me up. As I was reflecting on the readings for today, my heart was flooded with some beautiful memories from my semester abroad.
A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter...
Before college, I had many "friends." I thought I understood what friendship was, but when I was a freshman in college, I met the truest friends I've ever had. It was during our semester abroad that I realized just how important it is to surround ourselves with people who will lift us up, and not tear us down.
The beginning of my semester abroad left me with a broken heart. It had seemed like one of my dearest friends abandoned me, and I felt so hurt. She also was studying abroad with me, and so I had to face her every. single. day. If you have ever had a falling out with a friend, then you understand how painful this can be. She was someone I considered to be a "faithful friend," so why was I hurting so badly?
Well, my friends, this person I mentioned is not what scripture considers a faithful friend. She was not a "life-saving remedy", or even the "sturdy shelter" that my heart desired. She fell into the category of what Sirach today described as "a friend when it suits him".
I want to reassure you that this doesn't mean we have to cut off everyone who isn't always the sturdy shelter, but we do have to be careful about the people we surround ourselves with. After this heart break I experienced, I realized how grateful I was for all of my other friends. Not once have they abandoned me; not once have they tried to take my eyes off the Lord. They became my sturdy shelters. And even now, after we have graduated and scattered across the country, I can look at every single one of them and say "yes, this person truly is a sturdy shelter for me." We were made for relationship. Our hearts were literally made to give love and receive love; this is the whole purpose for which we were created!
Look around you. Who are the people you hold closest to your heart? Do the relationships in your life echo what Sirach describes as a true friend?
My friends, I promise you, if we commit to making Christ the center of our lives and putting our relationship with Him FIRST in our lives, then the other relationships in our lives will fall into place. Are the people closest to you leading you closer to Him, or pulling you away?
Seek the Lord. Ask Him to surround you with people who are also seeking Him. Then together, you can run the race set before you and fight the good fight on your journey to Him, our true shelter and life-saving remedy.
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.
Who are your closest friends? Are they leading you closer to Christ or pulling you away?
What makes a true friend?
How are you a sturdy shelter for your friends? How do you live out the friendship Sirach speaks of?
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.
"A faithful friend is a sturdy shelter."
"A faithful friend is beyond price."
"A faithful friend is a life-saving remedy."
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?
Take some time today to sit down with one or two of your closest friends and spend a few minutes in prayer together.
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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 Sarah Freddino, a FOCUS Missionary at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL.
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