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).
Today’s Gospel passage is easily one of my favorite stories in all of Scripture. And while Matthew’s account of the events we read about today (which you can also find in Mark 5 and Luke 8) is comparatively short (less than ten verses), it still manages to be jam-packed with immense depth and mic-drop-worthy truth bombs. There is so much that we could focus on or dive into from today’s Gospel, but what consistently catches my attention in the midst of the richness found in this passage is the remarkable, and honestly irrational, faith of the hemorrhaging woman.
Twelve years. This woman had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years. I mean let’s unpack that for a second. According to the Law of Moses (aka Jewish law), this particular ailment would’ve caused this woman to be deemed unclean. That means that if she had a husband he would’ve been forbidden from touching her, she wouldn’t have been able to enter into places of public worship, and everything that she touched would’ve, in effect, become unclean. Being declared “unclean” was presumably one of the worst possible fates in Jesus’s time, reserved only for the sick and outcasts of society.
Essentially this woman had been living in the shadows for twelve years. She would’ve been a social pariah. And if the social humiliation and rejection weren’t enough, the hemorrhaging woman would’ve also endured an excessive amount of physical suffering due to her illness, seeing as her condition causes extreme body weakness; in other words it would’ve taken an immense amount of effort to even just get out of bed in the morning, every single movement a struggle.
But what is so absurdly remarkable to me is that despite all of this, all of the rejection and all of the pain. Despite the years of torment and loneliness, and even despite the fact that she was forbidden from touching anyone or anything, she still reaches out to the Lord. After twelve long years of suffering, she still believes that Jesus can heal her. She still has faith.
“She said to herself, ‘If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.’”
Everyone else in the pressing crowd surrounding Jesus was curious, interested in who this man they had heard so much about actually was. But this woman alone had the courage to act, to reach out, to touch. She didn’t just believe that Christ could heal her, she acted on that belief. She overcame her fear and she reached out to receive the healing power of Jesus Christ.
If we were able to be more like the hemorrhaging woman, if we were able to overcome our fear, what would we ask Jesus to free us from? What do we desire to be healed of?
Friends, let us not be afraid to reach out to the Lord today. Let us trust, in faith, that God can and will set us free. Let us imitate the faith of the hemorrhaging woman, that Jesus might speak to us what he spoke to her:
“Courage! Your faith has saved you.”
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.
Where in your life do you feel like you are hiding in the shadows? What secrets, sins, or shame are you holding on to?
What do you want to ask Jesus to free you from? What do you desire to be healed of?
How can you imitate the faith of the hemorrhaging woman?
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.
"Lord, grant me courage."
"Your faith has saved you."
"Lord, grant me faith like the hemorrhaging woman."
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?
Go to Confession within the next week, and allow the Lord to heal you from whatever you need to be freed from.
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.