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).
Recently I made a visit to one of our 3rd grade classrooms at the school and the children had some questions. One question stood out. The student asked, “Why do we have to confess our sins to a priest when we can just say them directly to God?” “Great question,” I replied. And I explained to the class how we should do both.
First, confessing our sins to God during quiet prayer time in our room is important – (we heard this on Ash Wednesday – “Go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret”); we should do this daily. A simple way to execute this is thanking the Lord for all the blessings today, but also being honest with Him in where we have failed.
But we don’t stop there.
The Lord has given us the Sacrament of Confession to encounter Him in an even more profound way, especially when the sins are grave. Jesus instituted this sacrament after He rose from the dead and gave His apostles the power to forgive or retain the sins of others in His name. The only way those first apostles could know what to forgive and what to retain was by hearing failings with their own ears. They had to hear the sins of others in order to bestow the mercy or justice of God. The Gospel today reminds us, “go...be reconciled with your brother.” Practically speaking, we also have to remember we are a family in God and forgiveness and reconciliation involves us saying sorry to another member of the Body of Christ when we fail, and this happens in a special way through the priest in Confession.
The bottom line is sin doesn’t just affect me and God...it’s not private...it wounds a communion of persons: myself, God, and another. The amazing remedy is also done in the same way, through a communion of persons: God, myself, and another.
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.
When was the last time you went to confession?
Are there any people in your life that you need to reconcile yourself with?
How can you add a daily examen into your prayer life?
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.
"I'm sorry Lord."
"Be merciful O Lord."
"I delight in your mercy."
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?
Pray a daily examen this evening before bed and make a resolution to do so each evening. Begin with acknowledging that you are in God's presence. Thank Him for the good things He has given to you today. Acknowledge where you fell short this day. Ask Him for forgiveness. Make a resolution for how you can do one thing better tomorrow.
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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 Fr. John McNamara, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.
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