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).
Paul’s letter to Timothy gives us a command that is well-suited for reflection on this second Sunday of Lent: “Bear your share of hardship for the Gospel.” Captured in the nuances of this command is a dynamic that will set the tone for this entire liturgical season.
First, let us consider the nature of the hardship that we are being called to bear. There is a critical clarification to be made as we bring forth the idea that we Christians are not called to hardship for hardship’s sake. To use the language that we so often hear associated with Lenten sacrifices, we are not called to boost our efforts in prayer, fasting, and almsgiving just to make our lives difficult. Our Lenten disciplines are not an effort of practice geared toward self-perfection.
Rather, the hardships we bear during this liturgical season are best characterized as an offering. This is an offering which, during this season, often concentrates on one or more particulars but is indicative of a deeper, total gift of self.
According to Paul’s vision, this is, in many ways, the dynamic at the heart of our pursuit of holiness: empty the self, so the Lord can fill us up. During the Lenten season, we arrive at a deeper realization of the way in which Christ fills us up with His own self, humanity and divinity, suffering and glory, when we offer ourselves wholly to Him.
As Paul reflects earlier on in his letter to Timothy, this is a gift. According to our design, we are given the capacity to taste both the vinegar of the Crucifixion and the honey of the Resurrection. To live in his image and likeness means everything. Fall with Him on the road to Calvary, suffer with Him on the Cross, and allow Him to be risen in you in the Resurrection, so that it is no longer you who lives, but Christ who lives in you.
Although suffering for the salvation of humanity is a sacrifice definitively accomplished by Christ on the Cross, this Lenten season we are reminded that we have a share in it. As Paul calls us to “bear our share of hardship for the Gospel” we are invited into the grand vision of the Christian life characterized by the deep marriage of love and suffering. As we make of these hardships an offering to our Lord, they are transfigured in his image, revealed in our reflection, and lived out with the strength that comes from God.
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 sacrifices or hardships are you facing this Lenten season? How will they help you grow in holiness?
How do you think the Lord wants to fill you up?
Have you allowed Christ into every part of your life? How does your faith animate everything you do?
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.
"Fill me up, God."
"Bear your share of hardship for the Gospel."
"I give it all to you, God."
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?
Ask the Lord for the strength to bear your hardships and continue with your Lenten fast as we dive deeper into this season.
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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 Antonio Marchi, Program Manager for St. Joseph County Right to Life in South Bend, IN, and Jennifer Marchi, K-8 Resource Teacher at Mishawaka Catholic School in Mishawaka, IN.
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