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).
It can be easy to skip over today’s readings, because honestly, who is interested in reading through the entire genealogy of Jesus? On the surface, a list of names can be boring.
In our modern era, we have lost the ability to remember our ancestors with the precision of the Jewish people. After a few generations, memories of our loved ones often die away. Personally, I only know a few stories of my relatives who immigrated from Europe in the late 1800s or early 1900s, and even their names have escaped me.
Yet, the desire to trace and remember our family tree is relatable. Today, technology has begun to supplement our inept memories, providing DNA analysis to tell us about our forgotten genealogy. Testing kits can be bought at our convenience and websites can help fill in the gaps of our history.
But why were the Jewish people so intent on remembering those who had gone before them? As God's chosen people, they knew that one day the Messiah would come from among them, especially those in the line of David. And when that day came, they would want to look back and see all the people who had lived their lives in preparation for their Lord’s coming. They knew they were part of the story.
We don’t need to use a DNA kit to know our history or our family — our larger family. Through our baptism, we are part of this larger lineage growing out from Christ in his Church. We are part of his family through our spiritual adoption by God the Father.
Advent is not just a season of anticipation for the Christ child’s birth. It is also a season of preparation for his second coming. In this way, we as Christians are forming the lineage leading up to that most glorious day. We might not be able to count the generations as meticulously as the Jews, remembering names and entire families, but we do have the witnesses of our brothers and sisters in Christ, the saints, whose lives pointed toward Christ’s second coming. And so, too, are we called to imitate them and carry on their mission.
This Advent, take a moment to ponder your role in the Church. No matter your state in life, you have a part to play in God’s larger story. Take pride in your Christian family and see how you can prepare your heart for Christ’s coming.
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.
How do I fit into the bigger story and family of God?
How has God worked most powerfully in my life so far this Advent?
In what ways have I been following my ancestors in faith by preparing myself for the Messiah this Advent?
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.
"Come, Lord Jesus."
"Prepare my heart."
"Help me live as your child."
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?
God has prepared his people, the Church, from the foundation of time. In the same way, he's prepared you to receive him. Take time today to write down a spiritual autobiography, how God has worked and moved in your life. Recounting how God has moved in your life before can help prepare you to receive him even more this Advent and Christmas.
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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 Ava Lalor, an editor for a Catholic newspaper.
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