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).
I have to be honest. When I first sat down to prepare for today’s reflection, I took one look at how long the first reading was and I swept right past it. But the Lord in His wisdom (and probably His humor) eventually drew me back to the book of Nehemiah. Now for those of you who, like me, find the length of the Scripture intimidating, I’m going to give you the one liner summary. (Disclaimer: this is so not an excuse for you to not pray through the first reading today - God’s Word is so much better than mine, trust me).
But for our reflective purposes the gist of the reading is this: the Israelites hear the word of God and they rejoice. The Scripture tells us that the people began to “celebrate with great joy, for they understood the words that had been expounded [explained] to them.” And this, my friends, is significant. It’s significant because while many of us may have seen the phrase “The joy of the Lord is my strength” (also found in the first reading) on a sign in Hobby Lobby it’s easy to miss the centrality that joy holds within our faith.
I mean, think about it, when was the last time you heard/read the Word of the Lord and left that time of prayer rejoicing? I think if we’re being honest, more often than not we treat our time in prayer like a reprieve from the chaos and anxiety of our daily lives without actually allowing it to transform me internally. But we see in today’s first reading that God desires to do so much more through His Word than just offer us a couple moments of peace and quiet. He desires to transform us. When we spend time reflecting on Scripture we offer the Lord the opportunity to change our hearts, to turn our anxiety into peace, our sadness into joy, and our suffering into healing. When we open our hearts to God’s word, we give ourselves the opportunity to “celebrate with great joy.” So today let’s claim the grace God won for us through the rejoicing of the Israelites and allow His Word to transform our hearts.
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.
How do you react to Scripture? Are you intimidated by it? Do you let God's Word bring peace and joy into your life?
When you pray, what do you seek? How can you focus more on and increasingly open your heart to God's transforming grace through your time in prayer?
How is the Lord trying to transform your heart today?
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.
"Open my heart, Lord."
"Transform me internally."
"I love 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?
Let today be a day of rejoicing. Seek God's transforming grace through your prayer and rejoice with God. Spend a few extra minutes today reflecting on Scripture, it could be today's reading or another passage that touches your heart, and allow God to open your heart to His transforming grace. After your extra prayer time, bring that joy and healing with you throughout the day and share it with those around you.
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 Lauren Wright, a Youth Minister in Rockford, IL.
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