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).
My youngest sister loves birthdays. Born with Down Syndrome, she has always had a knack for schedules and dates. Long ago she memorized the birth dates of all 24 members of our family, and she begins to anticipate each upcoming birthday weeks ahead of time. Naturally, her own birthday is a source of supreme joy – and celebrating it has become one of the rituals that brings our extended family together.
This year has been different. Because we have been sheltering in place, we were unable to get together to celebrate her special day. One of her nieces instead set up an extended-family Zoom session. All 24 of us joined together on 19 different screens to share birthday wishes. It wasn’t the same as being together in person, but it still brought us together and brought her joy.
As a global family, we are trying to isolate ourselves from each other to slow the spread of the new coronavirus and save lives. This is requiring us to find new and creative ways to continue to learn, work, worship and stay connected to each other when we cannot be physically present.
How timely, then, that today’s gospel has Jesus preparing His disciples for the fact that He soon will no longer be physically with them. He assures them, however, that He will not leave them alone. Rather, He will come be with them in a different way. He is going to ask His Father to send the Holy Spirit to be with them.
Our creative Creator has ensured that we can remain forever connected with Jesus through the gift of the Holy Spirit. In fact, some theologians consider the Spirit to be another name for the Love that flows between Jesus and the Father and from them into all of creation.
It is interesting to note that in John’s gospel, the word that Jesus uses to name the Spirit is “parakletos,” which literally means “called to be at one’s side” and is typically translated as Advocate or Comforter in English.
When we find ourselves longing to be able to physically receive Jesus in the Eucharist, or missing Jesus’ presence in the people who make up our friends, family and communities of faith; Jesus is still with us through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is ever at our side, advocating for us, comforting us and empowering us to live joyfully through difficulties of the day. Before there were Zoom meetings, there was the Holy Spirit – keeping us connected to the infinite love of God.
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.
How are you staying connected to your loved ones in this time that can feel so isolating?
How are you staying connected to God? Does this time of being separated from Mass and Church change that?
How can you let the Holy Spirit unite you to God today?
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.
"Come Holy Spirit."
"Jesus I trust in You."
"Thank you Jesus."
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?
In this difficult time, we will use our Action step each day to join with people around the world in praying for an end to the pandemic of the Coronavirus, for the healing of all those affected, and for the comfort of all those who have lost a loved one. The prayer below is from Archbishop José H. Gomez, President of the USCCB in his reflection and prayer during coronavirus:
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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 Liz Riegel, who lives in Cary, NC and has worked for the Church in various ministries settings.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.