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).
How much do you desire heaven? How much do you desire to be a saint with God? Or are you content simply to go to purgatory (and eventually get to heaven) because you think you aren’t worthy of it?
One of my greatest pet peeves is when people say they are aiming for purgatory and hope they get there. Not only is that a slap in the face to the Jesus who died for your SALVATION but it cheapens the love and power of God.
Today’s Gospel is one of the texts the Church has used in defense of her dogmatic teaching of purgatory as it says, “Then in anger his master handed him over to the torturers until he should pay back the whole debt.” Here the Lord is suggesting that even the one being tortured will not be so forever, so he is clearly not speaking about hell. Because there are places that He explicitly speaks about wailing and grinding of teeth and thrown into Gehenna- actual references about the place of eternal damnation. In this passage, Jesus is not speaking about hell but rather a place that one will enter for purification before entering the Kingdom of God. Still, it is not a place that one wants to end up as there are still torturers. No, we ought to strive for heaven!
But how do we do that? Two suggestions: 1) Pray for heaven. Pray to be saint. A good friend of mine said that he is asking the Lord to being a canonized saint! That may seem big, but we have a BIG God! We do not have a God of mediocrity: He has greater desires for you than you could ever imagine. So ask big. 2) Jesus gives us the answer on how to get to heaven: “So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives your brother from your heart.” There it is, forgiveness. We need to forgive people in our lives so that we can receive God’s forgiveness. How many people are out there who don’t think that they are worthy of heaven simply because deep down they don’t think they are worthy of God’s forgiveness? Well, that is a lie straight from the depths of hell. The reason Jesus came was to forgive and in order to receive His in its fullness, we have to forgive as well.
Why aim for purgatory and chance a miss? It is much safer to aim for heaven and if you miss, at least His mercy still catches 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.
Do you desire heaven? Or do you just aim for purgatory?
God only desires great things for you. Do you desire greatness for yourself?
How can you pray boldly? What do you want to ask God for?
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 want to go to heaven."
"I want to be a saint."
"Help me go to heaven."
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?
Today, take Fr. Grismer's two suggestions. First, pray and ask for heaven. Be big and bold in your prayers. Second, Jesus tells us we must forgive to go to heaven. Who do you need to forgive?
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.