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).
The Church and the world will always be in opposition to each other. Or rather, they ought to be. In the Gospels, Christ makes some absurd statements: “I have come to set fire upon the earth” or “Satan, the ruler of this world” or “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” Perhaps this is a mild sampling compared to some of the other comments said by our Lord, but these statements illustrate that Christ came not to tell the world how nice it is, but to reveal that it is in opposition to the Father.
Jeremiah came many years before Christ but as he was a prophet he was sent by God to bring people to a recognition that they had sinned and in turn needed God’s mercy. But what do we read in today’s first reading? “Come, let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah. And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue; let us carefully note his every word." The very people to whom he was sent, because of his message, planned to kill him. That seems absurd. He was only trying to help, right? I mean he was God’s messenger…didn’t they know that?
There are moments in our lives that we play both of these characters. We are, at times, the innocent man Jeremiah who is doing right and gets blamed for something wrong. Or we stand up for something true and those who are intent on hurting us twist our words. It is then that we experience what all Christians have experienced in being persecuted for righteousness. On the other hand, we have been on the side of those in Judah and Jerusalem. We too have been corrected or reprimanded for poor behavior and in those moments, if we harden our hearts, we can become bitter towards the person who is trying to help us.
Hardening our hearts against the message of the Gospel, against good advice, against truth itself is what the world does. Christ came to bring to conversion the world, yes, but the world is broken, it is hurt and wounded. Think about trying to pet a dog that has been beaten by its master. It shies away from any human contact because it thinks that one human contact is like all the other. So because of the Fall with Adam and Eve, the world became wounded by sin and it thinks that help from God is a trick or that it will be painful. It has turned its heart away from God. Hearing the Gospel can be sterile; allowing yourself to be moved by the Gospel is life changing. As we continue in lent, it would be incredibly beneficial to ask the Lord for the grace to hear his voice and respond well. And to be given the strength to stand in the face of persecution and turn your heart and mind to the Lord.
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.
Reflect on the decisions you made in the last several days, when have you chosen Christ? When have you chosen the world?
Think about the sins that you find yourself constantly repeating in the confessional. What temptations lead you to these sins?
Who challenges you to grow in your faith? How can you ask this person to help you continue to choose 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 choose Christ."
"Lord, I need You."
"The world promises you comfort, but you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness." — Pope Benedict XVI
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?
What decisions do you make every day that you can offer up to Christ? Today choose Him in every action and offer each action up to 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 Fr. Sean Grismer, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.
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