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).
Today's readings all seem to focus in on one central theme: the heart. Not the literal, physical, human heart, but the heart in terms of what moves us. We often use terms like the head and the heart, two very physical things, to express something immaterial. The head is where the brain is located, so we us the word "head" to describe things in terms of intellect. The heart of the body is the center of human activity. The heart is the organ of the body that receives and pumps blood, and so gives life to the rest of the body. We use the word "heart", sometimes interchangeably with the word "soul", to describe things such as emotions and desires and will.
I know this all can seem a bit confusing and philosophical, but bear with me! The Lord has given us our intellect and our will for a good reason. He has made us like Himself! Do you remember in the book of Genesis when it says that God created man in His Image and Likeness? This is what that means! He gave us an intellect like Him so that we can think and reason. And He gave us a will, free will, so that we can make decisions and act.
In today's Gospel, Jesus is talking to his disciples about the heart. For so long, people depended entirely on the head, on the intellect. They knew that adultery was wrong, they knew the law, but here Jesus is challenging them to go deeper, to go into their very hearts. We all know that one of the ten commandments is to not commit adultery, but Jesus goes above and beyond this commandment, telling His disciples that if they look at a woman lustfully, they are committing adultery with her in their HEART, because the heart is where we truly dwell. That is who we really are. Jesus is speaking to all of us today... We are not defined by what we do, but who we are. And if we fill our hearts with things that wound us rather than benefit us, then we are covering up who we really are.
So much of what we do depends on our heart. I went to a very Catholic University for four years, but I can honestly say that it wasn't until the end of my junior year that I really began LIVING my faith in my heart. I was studying Theology, so I knew all these things about my faith, but I didn't really live that faith out. It wasn't until I met a FOCUS missionary my junior year that I really began to see that my heart wasn't in the right place. And together, we began to walk towards connecting my head to my heart. This is still a struggle of mine, over two years later, but every day I have to remind myself to look into my heart... what moves me? Is it Jesus? Is it love?
Friends, today I want to encourage you to look into your heart. Go deeper than maybe you ever have before. Why are you following Jesus? Why do you obey the ten commandments? Why do you go to Mass? What moves your heart?
The first reading tells us that we ought to manifest Jesus in our very selves. By virtue of our Baptism, brothers and sisters, we carry Jesus Himself within us. St. Augustine often wrote about how he searched everywhere for God, but could not find Him. It was only when he searched within himself, when he truly entered into his own heart, that he found Our Lord, and he found truth. God dwells in you! You are a TEMPLE of the Holy Spirit, even when it doesn't feel like it.
Look into your heart today. Ask Jesus to make His presence known to you. And ask Him to enlighten your heart, to fall more and more in love with Him. Our faith is not one of rules and oppression, but one of FREEDOM and LOVE.
What lies deep within your heart?
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 moves your heart? If you were to look into your heart, who and/or what would you see?
Where in your life do you see a disconnect between your head and your heart?
Dig a little deeper: Why do you follow Jesus? Why do you go to Mass every Sunday? Is it out of love?
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.
"Move my heart, Lord."
"Be the king of my heart."
"Make my heart more like yours."
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?
Dig deep and truly examine your heart today. Look within yourself and see where Christ dwells in you.
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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 Sarah Freddino, a FOCUS Missionary at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, FL.
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