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’ve made it to Holy Week. After experiencing one of the stranger and harder Lenten seasons we’ve all endured together, we are finally prepared to enter into the sacred Mysteries of Holy Week. Instead of spending our time in the Church today, gathering palms to be blessed and made into beautiful crosses, instead of standing and participating in the proclamation of the longest and most beautiful Gospel reading of the year, instead of preparing ourselves for the sacred Paschal Triduum this coming weekend; we are stuck at home. In the midst of SO much to reflect on entering Palm Sunday, where we commemorate the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and the mysterious sorrow of His Passion, I’m drawn to the words of Psalm 22, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
Even among the explosion of Catholic content on the internet and social media over these past weeks, I would imagine that we are all feeling the effects of isolation and loneliness in our quarantine. I know that even with so much being put out online for me to participate in I have felt so disconnected from the Lord over the past few weeks. Not being able to go to Mass to receive Jesus in the Eucharist, not being able to stop by the chapel to spend time in Adoration, not even being able to commune with my co-workers or friends, has weighed heavily on me. In truth, though I know it is not the case, I feel as though God has abandoned me in the midst of this isolation. I feel the pain behind the response of today’s psalm, especially as Jesus cries it out from the Cross with His final breaths.
Perhaps you feel similarly and feel distant from the Lord on this Palm Sunday. Perhaps you feel the pain and suffering of being seemingly abandoned by the Lord. The beauty of this solemnity is that, underneath all of the heartache, we see the steadfast love of God being poured out for all of us. We see that Jesus, though He cries in abandonment from the Cross, still trusting in the Father’s love for Him, and indeed for all of us. Jesus remains close to us, constantly pouring Himself out for us by His sacrifice on the Cross. Even in our isolation, loneliness, or feelings of abandonment, Jesus remains close.
Psalm 22 is known because Christ cries it from the Cross. We feel it so deeply because we see God Himself crying out that He has been abandoned and is totally alone as He hangs from the Cross, dying for our sins. But we need to rest in the victory that the psalm echoes out as it finishes. In the midst of the psalmist’s abandonment, he still praises the Lord and brings Him glory. Just as Christ, in the final desperate moment of the Cross, still praises the Lord and remains steadfast in His trust. This is the great mystery we enter into today: that in the midst of betrayal, pain, and death, the Lord remains with us even as He leaves us in His death.
My encouragement for you today is to enter into this mystery. In the midst of the stripping away of the garments of our lives: our socialization, communion with our friends, our freedom to go out and live in the world, we are still covered by the love of God. Even now, when we feel the abandonment of the psalmist and Jesus Christ as He hangs from the Cross, we can still praise and glorify God, trusting that He remains close to us even now. Enter into this great mystery as you enter into the great mystery of Holy Week.
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 are some times you have felt abandoned by God in your life?
How can you see God in those situations now?
How can you see God in a special way today, especially in the midst of all that is going on in our world 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.
"Jesus, I trust in You."
"Come Holy Spirit."
"Here I am Lord."
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?
In this difficult time, we will use our Action step each day to join with people around the world in praying for an end to the pandemic of the Coronavirus, for the healing of all those affected, and for the comfort of all those who have lost a loved one. The prayer below is from Archbishop José H. Gomez, President of the USCCB in his reflection and prayer during coronavirus:
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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.