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: Mediatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
There is something so beautiful and innate to human flourishing and a purpose-filled life in the idea of bearing fruit: the concept of blossoming and bringing life and worthwhile love through our faith and our everyday lives.
In Jeremiah, the Lord promises that we will be fruitful if we place our trust in Him:
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose hope is the LORD.
He is like a tree planted beside the waters
that stretches out its roots to the stream:
It fears not the heat when it comes,
its leaves stay green;
In the year of drought it shows no distress,
but still bears fruit.
A friend and beautiful Christian witness and blogger, Kristin Stockfisch, wrote this story on her Instagram page a few weeks ago. She had posted a photo of a lime tree, each lime covered in tiny water droplets, and shared a moment of realization she had after reflecting on the experience of the tree in her backyard in Santa Barbara, California:
“We have a lime tree in our backyard that we almost threw away because it didn't produce any fruit for a year. Today there are limes everywhere AND those limes are covered in rain. In the middle of a massive drought - rain is falling on a once-barren tree.
When I was in Africa I asked our guide, Sam, about the term 'over-spiritualize' and if anyone in Uganda would ever think to use that term like we do in the U.S. Quietly, simply and confidently- he said... 'No. Everything is spiritual.' So I'm letting this little lime tree encourage me today. If you feel like you haven't produced anything good in a year or more, if you are feeling like life is dry and the rain is nowhere in sight, if you feel like it may not be worth it to believe the best of God ... be reminded that the fruitful season is coming, the rain will again wash away what's dry and God's goodness will look and taste sweeter than ever before.’"
Kristin’s words hit a core: “if you feel like it may not be worth it to believe the best of God…” In the dry season, it is often hard to remember that the rain will come again. That happiness and love and joy will come to our lives once again.
But the fruitful season IS coming. He promises this to those who trust Him, and He promises that He will be faithful to His word. And those who trust in the Him will show no distress, even during the drought, and will bear fruit.
In today's reading from Sirach, the Lord reminds us that each of us is created in His image, given the wisdom, discipline, and understanding to trust Him, to follow Him, and to glory in the wonder of His deeds. What have we got to lose? Trust Him, and let the waters of His love nourish us and transform us from our deepest roots.
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.
Would you describe the place you are in right now as a time of flourishing or a drought? Why is that what you're experiencing? Where is God taking you in this place?
When and why do you struggle to trust God, if ever? How can you do a better job of turning those things over to Him?
What ways is God working to transform your life right? Take some time to take stock of where God is working in your life and has been recently.
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.
"You are good."
"You are faithful."
"I trust in You."
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?
Take some time today to focus on what God is doing in a specific moment. Put your phone down, listen to the people around, and focus on the fact that even if it feels like a drought and it's difficult, God is working in your life and promises to be faithful when we remain close to 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 Andrea Scott, a graduate of Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio currently living in Washington D.C.