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).
Nature can be a powerful force that leaves the human person feeling small, insignificant or – especially in storms – afraid for their life. I felt this when I lived through my first ever hurricane a few years ago and experienced this powerlessness in the face of mother nature; there was nothing to be done in the face of such natural force but to flee from it or to wait it out and hope that you were spared.
In fact, this power and force of nature has caused some peoples in the course of history to worship nature: a worship that seeks to appease the wrath of such a capricious task master. Power, control, terror, and insignificance can be one way that cultures have conceived the divine.
Notice how different the Judeo-Christian God is revealed to be in today’s readings. We worship a God of peace, and of joy, not one that causes us to be afraid. On the one hand, God comes to Elijah in the quiet and simplicity of “a tiny whispering sound.” God did not desire to instill fear in Elijah but love and peace and calm. God’s small whisper is contrasted with the earthquake, fire, and strong wind that came before and where God was not. God does not desire to dominate, but to draw close and to empower through the gift of his love.
We see this even more clearly in the Gospel. The disciples are in the midst of a chaotic storm – tossed about and in fear of injury or perhaps death. They were at the mercy of nature. Jesus arrives and first calms them and then calms the storm. The drawing close of Jesus brings the disciples peace, courage, and stillness. The disciples are led to worship Jesus, but not out of a servile fear or sense of appeasement for a capricious friend; no, they are led to worship out of gratitude and a sense of joy at being called into relationship and friendship with God.
Our God is not a God of fear but of love, and his presence leaves behind an increase of love and a dispelling of fear. The great saints in our tradition, like John Paul II, remind us to “be not afraid” and that our fears will decrease the closer we draw to the Lord, for love and joy are of God. In our prayer today, let us reflect on the ways that our fears might still influence our approach to God, our worship, or our actions. Invite the Lord into these places of fear and let us hear him say to us – like he did to his disciples – “take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
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 the face of fear, why do you think it can be so difficult to hear and see God?
What are some things you are afraid of, and how can you entrust them to God's loving care this morning, that he can respond with the peace and joy he offers?
How can you worship God today from a place not of fear but of freedom and courage?
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.
"Call me out on the water."
"Be not afraid."
"Give me courage."
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?
Every time you feel fear today – and this week – take a moment to repeat the words of God in Scripture to "be not afraid" and move forward in courage with him.
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 Jon Polce, SJ.
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.