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).
You may be familiar with the following verse if you're an oldies music fan like myself (or because you read the Bible), but either way this is our theme for today: "for everything there is a season" - Ecclesiastes 3:1. With this verse, today I want to focus on two topics that until recently I did not quite understand: feasting and fasting.
First I will begin with fasting. This topic might sound harsh, not fun, and something reserved solely for Lent, but this is not true. Fasting is one of the beautiful ways that we can unite our prayers and our sufferings with Jesus on the cross. Yes, we are called to fast during lent as well as advent, but it is also a great way to supplement a prayer during ordinary time.
I was praying very hard for my brother's conversion to Christianity, and I decided one day that if I wanted God to do something big that I needed to intensify my prayer. I freely chose to sleep on the concrete floor for a week and offered up any discomfort as a sacrifice for my brother. A little over a week later, my brother called me and shared with me that a week ago he had gone to confession for the first time in twenty years. I immediately got on my knees and gave praise to God. I'm not saying that every time you fast your prayer will be answered, because that's not true, but fasting is a great way to intensify your prayer life and be more closely united to the cross.
Now, on to feasting.
Just like there is no night without day, there is no fasting without feasting. The Catholic liturgical calendar is genius: it automatically puts in seasons for us to fast and seasons for us to feast. So, why have I been forgetting to take feasting more seriously? Probably because, in my mind, every day is a feast. I am privileged to be able to eat pretty much whatever I want when I want. Ironically, I learned how to feast from coming to Haiti so often.
The members of our church in Haiti eat simply (or not at all) during ordinary days. Their meals consist mostly of rice and beans, and their clothing is simple. But, when a Liturgical solemnity rolls around, it's go time. I finally understood why my catholic school growing up got off school on feast days. In Haiti, it's an all-day or multiple day affair. They spend the first part of the day solely in prayer, praising the Lord for such a wonderful time to feast. They then, dressed to the nines, bring out their finest meats and dishes and play music throughout the night. You haven't partied until you've been to Haiti on a feast day! Just kidding; but, for real, it is a grand ole time, and I was inspired to live this way back home as well.
The Lord wants us to rejoice and to be glad! The Haitian celebrations have inspired me to make my ordinary days simple, so that when a time worthy of celebration comes around, that day will be special and set apart. Jesus calls us to fast and to feast, and so I encourage you to begin living more intentionally with the liturgical seasons and you will experience joy in fasting and joy in feasting.
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.
Which of these two things, fasting or feasting, do you find to be easier in your life? Why is it that you find that to be easier in your life?
How can you improve your commitment to fasting in your life? What sorts of things can you give up, or how can you to offer up some sacrifices in your life? How will this help your prayer life and relationship with the Lord?
How about your commitment to feasting - what can you to do truly celebrate well in your life? Do you currently know how to celebrate well, not going overboard but simply taking joy in the celebrations of the world?
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.
"There is a time for everything."
"I will sacrifice for You."
"Help me feast well."
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 Lord bear fruit in you today?
Add some sort of fasting and some sort of feasting in your life soon. Look at the Liturgical calendar (go to the website where the readings are) and pick a feast day where you can celebrate well. Then, make a plan to fast, preferably on a Friday, since that is the day the Church asks us to fast in commemoration of the Lord's passion and death. After you fast & feast, see what the Lord is doing in your life through those things.
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 Jen Mason, the LifeTeen Mission Trip Coordinator for group missions to Haiti.