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).
God loves us.
That is the theme of today's readings. But how much does God love us? How valuable are we to God? St. Paul in the second reading tells us that Jesus loves us so much that He died for us. But Jesus today also tells us how much we are loved; Jesus says to us in the Gospel: “you are worth more than many sparrows.”
As someone who struggles constantly with self-esteem (am I good enough? Am I pretty enough? Am I smart enough? Holy enough?), Jesus’s words did not make much sense to me at all. So I am worth more than a small bird, so what? That small sparrow seems so insignificant, then what about me?
But that tiny sparrow is exactly the point. Throughout scripture Jesus proclaims the value that the little sparrow, usually offered as a cheap sacrifice, has to our Lord. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus says that a sparrow does not fall out of the sky without our Lord's knowledge. Here in Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus says that all of the hairs on our head are counted and known by God. If God cares about the sparrows so much to know if they die, then He loves us infinitely more because He knows every hair on our head. We are so loved.
Often I find myself thinking I need to do great things to earn the love of my parents, friends, teachers and God. But the truth is, nothing I do can make God love me more. I can't pray my way to more love, nor can I be perfect to earn His love; He already loves me. And just like there's nothing I can do to earn more love, there's nothing I can do to make Him love me less. No sin will stop God from loving me.
God loves me for me. He values me. He sees me. I am worth more to Him than all the sparrows in the world. But when do I choose Him? It is not enough to know God, we must also love God. How many insignificant things do I place before God in my life? As God has chosen to love us, today put into action how much you love 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.
What does it mean that God loves you? What are the things in your life that stop you from believing that?
God knows every hair on your head. Have you ever sat and reflected on that reality and the value you are given because of that? What would change if you lived knowing that He knows you intimately and cares for every hair on your head?
What in your life do you put in front of you which stop you from responding to God's love by loving Him back?
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.
"You love me."
"I love You, oh Lord."
"You know every hair on my head."
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?
Take note of the littlest things around you - squirrels, plants, the gentle summer breeze - and make a point to thank God for it, realizing He created all of it, but that He gives you a value far greater than those because you are in His image and He knows you intimately.
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 Lisa Kendzior, Junior High Youth Minister at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.