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).
Coraggio! Coraggio! Coraggio!
I still remember hearing this word, meaning courage in Italian, being boldly proclaimed at my college graduation. "Have courage!" the speaker said as we were getting ready for one of the scariest transitions of our lives.
See, fear is a fascinating reality in our lives. The possibilities of fear are endless: from spiders to snakes, speaking in front of the class or asking that cute girl out. Fear can cripple us and turn us into a shell of the person we were created to be.
There is good news though! It doesn't have to control you. The story we heard from Maccabees today proves that! It may seem weird that these men we're willing to die before eating a food deemed immoral by their law, but the truth is, they saw EVERYTHING in their life as a gift from God! If He wanted it back, even their lives, they were thankful for the short time they were able to enjoy it. They counted nothing as their own, but everything that they had freely belonged to God.
Do we see things in our life as a pure and total gift from God? It sounds nice, but do we really believe it? And if so, do we love the gift more than the Giver? Would we rather hold on to the thing God gave us instead of God Himself?
Thankfully, God doesn’t ask us to not eat bacon, thank God! But what about that party next weekend? What about the things your boyfriend or girlfriend has been asking you to do? These men were willing to be tortured and killed before eating a forbidden food, for not eating pork, but we go out of our way sometimes to break his commands. This isn’t to make us feel awful or anything like that, but it is a call to have courage and fight for what is right. Someone will try to pressure you into doing something you know is wrong. It won’t be a matter of life and death, but it may still be a tough choice. It might mean losing friends or not getting invited to the next party, but when you have the Giver of All Gifts, what else do you need!
Coraggio! Take courage and do not fear.
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 big fears steal your joy and your peace?
What are some of the greatest gifts in your life that bring you joy? Spend some time recognizing that all those good gifts are from the Lord, and thank Him for each and every one.
What are some of the difficult changes God may be calling you to make? What scares you about making those changes? Ask the Lord for courage!
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, give me courage."
"All good gifts are from you, God."
"Jesus, be my strength."
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?
What is one simple, concrete thing you can do to start making one of those changes that God is calling you to make? Pray for courage and then take one baby-step towards that change today.
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 Sean Norris, Youth Minister at Our Lady of the Wayside Parish in Arlington Heights, IL.