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).
So, if you are like me, you find yourself at times complaining to God and saying things like, “that’s not fair!” Often times this comes up when I am comparing myself to others around me. It is in moments like this that you need to be humble enough to call yourselves out on your envy, pride, and egoism. As soon as you start comparing the lives of others to your own and judging them based on their sins verses righteousness, then we have become what we hate. It is so easy for us to become blind to our own sin, but be the first to point out the faults of those around us.
This is exactly what Ezekiel was dealing with among the Jewish people. They were essentially saying, “It’s not fair that a former sinner is now back in union with God just because they repented, look at all those sins they have committed!” So often we are quick to judge the sins of others, or even sometimes believe that we are better than someone else. However, when we sin, we are more than comfortable believing that all we need to do is go to the Sacrament of Confession to be back in God’s good graces - which, through the grace of God is true. But why can’t we then hold others to this same grace-filled standard? Why can’t we be excited to see someone turn back to God as well?
This is what makes God so amazing. He rejoices and even celebrates when you seek His forgiveness because He desires your salvation above all other things.
I think sometimes we can get so focused on others that we forget about ourselves, and also forget the fact that we will all fall short of perfection. Does God desire us to be perfect? Yes. But, He also knows and understands that you will make mistakes. God knows your struggles, and He is constantly reaching out to you desiring to help you overcome them. It is only through pure and honest repentance to God that you can overcome your struggles. We all struggle with something, but being a Christian is all about constantly seeking and striving for God’s forgiveness when we do fall short, because a sincere penitent is a genuine follower of Christ.
So instead of allowing ourselves to fall deeper into these things that we hate, which leads us to say things like “God, that’s not fair!”, we need to search within our hearts, find that sin, and give it to God in prayer. However, the Christian life is not just about one act, or one moment in prayer. It is about many acts and many moments, which is why it is not just simply enough to only give that struggle to God, but we need to remain with Him every day through a life of daily prayer and reading of scripture. The Catechism of the Catholic Church even says, “reading Sacred Scripture…[and] every sincere act of worship or devotion revives the spirit of conversion and repentance within us and contributes to the forgiveness of sins” –CCC 1437.
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 rejoice in the forgiveness of sins or sometimes wish that people had to pay a little more for their sins? Why?
How do you think being more joyful over the conversion of any repentant sinner could change your outlook on life? How could it change the way you relate to everyone you meet?
Have you ever thought about the person you dislike the most, or the "worst person in the world", possibly being in heaven? How would you respond to them being there? With joy or anger? Why?
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.
"Jesus, I trust in You."
"Forgive me Lord."
"Help me to love like You."
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?
Stop judging and start praying. Think about the people that you struggle with in your life, and instead of judging them, pray for them 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 Jason Liuzzi, a middle school religion teacher at St. John the Evangelist School in St John, IN.