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).
A small group of women comes to my house every Tuesday night for a Scripture study, and we are working our way prayerfully through the Acts of the Apostles – tackling maybe a chapter each week, really reflecting on the lives of the early Christians and the lived faith of the early Church. Today’s first reading was one section that really caught our attention, and the personality of Ananais in particular; we spent 2 weeks just reflecting on this man’s trust in God.
I mean, think about it: prior to his conversion, Paul was a serious threat to Christians. He had made it his mission to eradicate the believers, who he believed were blaspheming. He even asked for the authority to go to Damascus and arrest anyone who believed in Christ. And, if you recall, he was the one holding the cloaks of those who were stoning St. Steven at his martyrdom. He was bad news, to say the least.
But nothing is impossible for God and people who are “bad news” are not at all far from His grace, if they’ll receive it. Paul encounters Jesus Christ on his way to Damascus and is converted – but struck blind. In what I can only believe was one of the biggest lessons of humility in his life, Paul suddenly needed the help of the Church to restore his sight.
The Lord called Ananais for the job. Can you imagine what Ananais was thinking when the Lord told him to actually seek out the man whose mission it was to arrest and kill Christians? Paul’s reputation preceded him; Ananais knew who Paul was and what he had done. But the Lord told Ananais that He had great things planned for Paul - that people would come to believe because of him! In Ananais' view, it had to seem a little crazy.
But here's where Ananais is a lesson to all of us: even if, in his own eyes, God's plan seemed a little crazy - and even if he was a little scared - Ananais hears the prompting of God and he follows. The trust that Ananais has in the Lord is secure and confident. He doesn't see the whole picture, doesn't know the future, and probably didn't even understand much in the moment - but he was familiar with the voice of God, knew he was being called, and trusted Him enough to follow. Even if he didn't fully understand.
God sees the bigger picture, and He is asking us to trust him. Even when we don't see the future or know every step of the plan, we know that He is good - and we can trust His goodness enough to take the next step and follow where He leads. Ananais' "yes" furthered the conversion of one of the greatest evangelists of our Church - from a persecutor of Christians to one of the greatest saints.
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.
Are we familiar enough with the Lord's voice to recognize it when He is calling us? And do we trust Him enough to follow, even if it doesn't make sense?
What if we said "yes" to everything God called us to? What will He accomplish through our cooperation with His will?
Have you ever considered who your "yes" would affect? How could your "yes" change the lives of those around you?
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.
"Jesus, I trust in You."
"Help me know 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?
Learn the Lord's voice. Spend some time listening in prayer today and be attentive to the ways God speaks to you. Seek out a spiritual director to help you in this process.
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 Megan Miller, the Director of Faith Formation and Youth Minister at Holy Cross parish in Deerfield, IL.