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).
When I was younger, my parents used to host a yearly St. Patrick’s Day party. They would hire a babysitter to watch us upstairs while the festivities went on (loudly) downstairs. One of my sisters yearned to check it out, but I was totally fine just hanging out watching a movie or playing with Legos in my room with my brother. I knew I didn’t belong downstairs at a party meant for adults. At my parents’ invitation, we would get to come down for a few minutes to say hi, but then it was right back up to get in bed.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus uses a child to humble His disciples who are once again asking about being the greatest. They probably imagine that since they are so close to Jesus, power and glory await them in heaven with Jesus as King. To teach them, Jesus calls over a child, who represents a member of society who has no rights and no ability to make demands of people. He is forgotten and overlooked, but not unloved.
There is nothing a child actively does to be in this position. Instead, it’s an attitude of being. The child sees that he isn’t welcome in the circle, so he stays close, distractedly watching those he assumes to be more important than himself. He can’t help but have a humble opinion of himself and is content in his nothingness. This gives him a freedom in dependence. He cannot fall from any height because he already rests quite securely upon the solid earth.
It isn’t until Jesus calls that the child comes into the sphere of the disciples. His passive, humble state of being allows him to be ready for the call but not anxiously awaiting it. He is secure in who he is. This isn’t to say that we should revel in being childish or remain in some state of perpetual immaturity. It’s the attitude of not seeking after glory, of knowing one’s place in relation to God that Jesus is calling us toward.
In their question to Jesus, the disciples magnify themselves, but they learn that only the small are capable of yielding all greatness to God, of magnifying God. Today, recognize your place as being a child of God – completely loved just for being who you are, trusting completely in His providence, awaiting His call to show His love to the world.
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.
When was a time when you considered yourself like a child as illustrated in today's Gospel?
How can you recognize yourself as a child of God?
What are some qualities of a child of God?
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 am a child of God."
"I am loved by God."
"I love 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?
Take a moment today to write down the characteristics of a child of God. Then evaluate your own life, perceptions, conversations, and actions along the lines of that list. Where can you grow? Choose one thing to focus on today and this week to grow in your relationship with God as His child.
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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 Kevin Gregus, a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Chicago.
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