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).
Alleluia, Christ is Risen Indeed!
What can we even say on a day as glorious as this day? It is Easter morning, my friends, the day in which death has officially been defeated. Our Great Master, Our Captain, Our Lord, has Risen, walking through death into life and leading us there, to the new life which is possible only in the Light of His gaze.
And so on this day we hear in the Gospel the account of His Resurrection, as first seen by Mary Magdalene, who "came to the tomb early while it was still dark." Following her word that the stone had been rolled back, Peter and the "other disciple," who is commonly understood to be John, who was writing the Gospel, come running. John arrives first, but gives way to Peter, the first Pope, who enters the tomb first. There, they find the linen cloths rolled back and the tomb empty!
Of course, we know how this story ends. For us, it makes sense. Jesus HAD to die so that we could be forgiven, and He HAD to rise so that we could have new life. For Mary, Peter, John, and the rest of the followers of Jesus, this would have been nearly impossible to totally understand.
Mary, especially, gives us someone we can all maybe relate to today. In the passage we read, and the part of the Gospel immediately after, we hear about Mary getting to the tomb, running to tell the apostles, returning with Peter and John, and then staying at the tomb after they leave. She is troubled and weeping. Jesus was the one who had called her already from the death of sin into the new life that He offers; now she has seen Him die, been working to understand that, and now has to deal with the reality that His body is not there. Has someone taken Him? Is this one big trick?
Angels come to her and ask her why she is crying; she ought not, they say, look for the living among the dead. Jesus is Risen! Then, in His glory, Jesus comes, and at first Mary mistakes Him for a gardener, but eventually realizes who He is. This scene, if we remember in our Old Testament, hearkens back to Song of Songs Chapter 3, where a woman goes "in the dark" to find the "one whom her soul loves."
Brothers and sisters, today, just like Mary, we have found the one whom our soul loves, and He is risen from the grave. Death could not defeat Him; it never stood a chance. Just like Mary, His new life might offer confusing things to us. We might be called, in the glory of His new life, to stand up for our faith in a time when it is most challenging. We might be called to end some relationships, or maybe give up some habits. In the end, His plans might look nothing like our plans. Often, though, this is the point: the Resurrection of Jesus shatters the idea we had of how the world was supposed to look. A new thing is happening, a new joy breaking forth, and it has begun on this day of days. Jesus is risen from the dead, and in Him we are given the chance at new life.
Like John, will we believe in the Resurrection? If we do, this day should be the most joyful of days we could have possibly imagined, for life has conquered death and we no longer have anything to fear. The one whom our soul longs to love is no longer dead, He is alive, and we are given freedom and new life in Him.
Alleluia. Praise and thank the Lord this day.
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.
In Jesus, do you find the one whom your soul loves? How are you called to love Jesus more?
Jesus had to die so that we might have new life. Today is a new day, how can you honor Jesus's sacrifice for you today?
What part of your life are you called to let go of and begin anew this Easter season?
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.
"He is risen."
"Thank you 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?
Christ is risen! You have new life! Live like that today. Celebrate Easter with a heart full of love for Christ and share that love with your friends and family today.
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 Jason Theobald, Director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntley, IL.