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).
We all know the story of our downfall: that snake and his dang lies, and the forbidden fruit; first Eve, and then Adam. Then their “eyes were opened” and it was all downhill from there. But honestly, I think the saddest line in the whole story is the last sentence from today’s first reading.
“When they heard the sound of the Lord God moving about in the garden at the breezy time of the day, the man and his wife hid themselves from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”
Earlier in the story, before all of this mess, we hear that Adam and Eve used to walk with God in the garden in the cool, breezy time of day. Can you imagine anything more perfect? Walking and talking with God, their Creator and Father and best friend, through paradise in that perfect time of day, just being in relationship together. There’s something so confident and bold about it – there was no fear, no hiding. Just trust and friendship and love.
And then everything gets complicated – sin destroys the trust and suddenly fear enters in. And instead of walking with God in peace and truth and boldness, Adam and Eve hide from him in that same garden.
Isn’t that the way it so often goes with us, too? Adam and Eve were our first parents, and not to be too punny here, but – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Don’t we see that same story play out in our own lives so often?
Listen, we’re all sinners and God knows our sin. But He wants to heal us from it, and He wants us to have confidence in His love! He wants to walk with us, and for us to talk with Him confidently and boldly. But sin undermines our trust in Him and distances us from that relationship. And so when we sin, rather than running towards the One who loves us and can heal us, we hide ourselves from Him like Adam and Eve. We distract ourselves, we avoid prayer, we avoid the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we try to avoid God and we think we’re hiding. We’re not so different from Adam and Eve.
Don’t hide, friends. What God wants – our Creator, Father, and best friend – is to be in relationship with us. A relationship of trust, friendship, and love. No fear, no hiding. Trust Him! Don’t hide. St. John wrote in his first letter: “There is no fear in love, for perfect love casts out fear.” (1 John 4:18) He loves you. Let that love cast out your fear, run to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, receive forgiveness, and start again.
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 does your perfect walk with God in the Garden of Eden look like to you? Take sometime to really imagine it and put yourself there. What does it look like, feel like, smell like, etc?
When are some times in your life that you have tried to hide from God instead of run to Him for mercy and forgiveness? How could your life have been simpler if you just turned back to Him right away?
What are some fears that stop you from truly loving God and others? How can you let true love cast out that fear?
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.
"Perfect love casts out fear."
"I love you Lord."
"Please forgive me Jesus."
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?
Don't be afraid to take a risk in true love. When love is pure and truly from God, there is nothing to fear. So make a list of the ways you can love people in your life better if you weren't afraid to truly love with God's love, and actually do it.
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 Megan Miller, the Director of Faith Formation and Youth Minister at Holy Cross parish in Deerfield, IL.