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).
"Upon those who dwelt in the land of deepest gloom, light has blazed forth."
That's an old translation of the First Reading for today, which is also quoted in today's Gospel, that I absolutely love. What a powerful image - those in the darkest gloom have a light BLAZE forth, burning away the darkness with the brightest of lights. In today's Gospel, Jesus comes to the very land that has been in darkness in order to bring the light. In many ways, this is a key part of the very mystery of the Gospel; the light comes into the very darkest parts of the world, not in an abstract way but in the physical presence of Jesus Christ Himself.
In real ways today, in the midst of the craziness of life and a cold winter, we can often find ourselves mistaken as to what the light of Christ might be. Many of us are looking for a light that will immediately fix the troubles in our lives, or an answer to some temporal problem. While Jesus Christ truly is Lord of each and every single moment, He does not promise to fix the problems we face in each of those moments. In this sense, we can be mistaken if we look for the light to completely rid our world of any darkness.
In another sense, though, we are selling the Gospel short in our lives if we lose the hope that the light of Christ is real, powerful and life-changing. While we go through struggles, many of us end up living what can be called, in a very real way, a "practical atheism." This is the way of living our lives wherein we feel like everything is on us; we give God an hour at Mass on Sunday, but for the most part placing our hope in people or things rather than the One who truly offers us hope.
Christian hope is different than either of these two ways of viewing the world. Christian hope comes from knowing that Jesus Christ, the One who is the Light of the world who came 2,000 years ago and will come again, has a future and a hope for each of us that is greater than we can imagine. As we encounter Jesus Christ in the Gospel in a real way, and then live that in our lives, Christian hope lets us that Jesus Christ is doing real, tangible things in our lives that will bring us true joy and fulfillment, if only we let His life penetrate our hearts and our lives. Christ's light wants to shine in your darkness; will you let it?
"The Gospel is not merely a communication of things that can be known—it is one that makes things happen and is life-changing. The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open. The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life." -Pope Benedict XVI
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 you hopeful? What are you hoping for?
Where does your hope come from?
What life lessons can you embrace from the Gospel?
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.
"Christ be my light."
"My hope is in you Lord."
"Light has blazed forth."
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 Lord bear fruit in you today?
Our hope is in Jesus Christ. Today, when you feel stressed, anxious, scared think of Jesus. Give Him everything you are worried about and say a prayer asking for hope.
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, Director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntley, IL.