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 a buddy who recently got a new car, and I was blown away by how many bells and whistles - how many comforts - it had. I've known about heated seats for a while...but his car has cooled seats! It blows cold air on your back if you select it. It's got TVs in it, and you can press a button that even gives you a back massage while you're riding in the car.
A while back I had to go to an ordination, so I stayed in a hotel reserved for the whole group attending the ordination; admittedly, it was a nicer hotel than I would have chosen on my own. But, after I finished checking in, the last question they asked me was if I'd like a warm cookie.
"Sir, would you like a warm cookie?"
Do people ever say no to that?! Anyway, they opened a special drawer - heated just for the cookies - and pulled out a fresh , warm, soft, gooey cookie.
Last, I remember taking a tour of a funeral home one time and going to the showroom, if you will, where they had all the coffins and caskets on display. I remember seeing the pillow where the deceased's head will be placed, and then seeing some regular pillows, and then one that was really, really thick. I asked: "what's that"? Oh, thats the deluxe model so your relative can truly rest in comfort.
Now, that, for me, is the sign that we live in a society that is really, really, really, really, really focused on comforts. We even want to be comfortable after we're dead!
This way of living so easily, so gradually, so naturally seeps into our spiritual lives as well...to the point where, rather than recognize our crosses for what they truly are - the precise means to our sanctification - we run from them as discomforts to be avoided.
In today's Gospel, Jesus reminds us...don't run from the Cross; embrace it, kiss it, cherish it for what it is: our path to heaven.
We need the Cross because love necessitates suffering. Anyone who's ever loved anyone or anything knows that love requires suffering. That's why Jesus is so clear: "Take up your Cross!"
Christianity necessitates suffering because Christianity necessitates love.
I'm reminded of a powerful statement by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen. He said, when Satan appears, you'll never see him with wounds because he doesn't love anything enough to suffer for it. Christianity without the Cross is Satanism.
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 ways is the Lord asking you to suffer in your life? Do you find it easy to accept that suffering, or is it a challenge for you?
How have you been called to love even when it wasn't easy? What can you do to grow in your ability to love that way?
What does Jesus want to teach you about love through the cross? Spend some moments reflecting on the cross and what He wants to say to you through it.
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 love Your cross."
"Teach me to suffer."
"I want to love well."
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?
Find a way to embrace suffering in order to love more deeply today. Accept a difficulty with joy, love another person in that suffering, and see how God is teaching you to love.
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. Jon Bakkelund, priest of the Diocese of Rockford.