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).
Today we celebrate the Passion of St. John the Baptist – so happy feast day (or memorial day, if you want to get technical)! The story in today's Gospel, from Mark 6:17-29, tells the account of what happened at the end of John's life. If you haven't read it, it'd be a very good thing to read; and it also reads like a good novel, full of crazy characters and intrigue and drama and a whole bunch more packed into just a few short verses.
For our prayer today, though, we're sticking to the words of St. Paul written to those in Corinth. This short passage from Paul's letter is powerful, challenging, full of wisdom, a little backhanded at times; really, it's what St. Paul was so good in his words that we read in Scripture. He's writing to a community of Christians in Corinth, many of whom he would have spent some time with and discipled, encouraging them and supporting them in living out their faith.
As I read this passage, I found myself thinking about the people in Corinth. Some followers of Jesus came, brought them the message of the Gospel, many of them came to believe, and then a church was formed that they were now a part of. Of course, they didn't have any of this stuff written down yet, they didn't have 2,000 years of tradition, they didn't really know about things like the Pope; they were just figuring out, day-by-day, how to live as followers of Christ.
And then Paul writes them, and what does he say: "consider your own calling, brothers and sisters." Paul reminds them, first and foremost, that they have been called; they've been named, chosen, selected by God to live a certain way, and he wants to remind them of that. Immediately, of course, in the way that Paul does, he reminds that the calling was not because they are wise or strong or worthy; no, it's quite the opposite. God calls the foolish, the weak, the lowly!
So what's the calling they're reminded of? Not a calling to greatness, but a calling to humility, a calling to submission before the Lord, boasting only in him who is worthy of our boasting.
As we remember St. John the Baptist, and Paul reminds us to only boast of the Lord, I hear the words of John speaking about Jesus: He must increase; I must decrease. Brothers and sisters, if we are to live a full live as a disciple of Jesus, if we are to get to our final days with confidence in the Father like John, if we are to truly boast in the Lord, it has to be because we remember our calling: to live in Christ Jesus, boasting only in him our Savior, and in the redemption he won for us being united to the Holy Trinity for all of eternity.
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 are things in your life that you find yourself getting caught up boasting in? Is it possessions, accomplishments, or skills?
How would you describe the calling that God has placed on your life?
As we look back at the people in the early church, what can we learn from those disciples and the way that they lived their life in Christ?
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 boast only in you."
"Come, Holy Spirit."
"He must increase, I must decrease."
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?
Today, write down on a post-it or set a reminder in your phone the phrase "He must increase, I must decrease" and put it somewhere or set it for a time where you'll see it. When you come across that phrase, pause to remember the importance of letting the Lord give you your calling, and boasting only in 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 Jason Theobald, Executive Director of Carpe Verbum.
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.