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).
In the Second Reading today we encounter a beautiful, short reflection on our Lord and His Passion and Death. The passage calls us back to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, the night before His death, crying out to God the Father in a loud voice longing for help in the face of what is to come.
Haven't you and I, in moments of trial or suffering, felt the need to cry out to the Father for help?
In this reading, we are told something very specific: God heard this prayer! Specifically, we hear that His prayer was heard "because of His reverence." What a beautiful thought and helpful thing for us: when we give God His proper reverence, He hears our prayers. And this is so true! God hears the prayers of all who cry out to Him because He is a good Father, one who hears the needs of His children and cares for all of their needs.
In another sense, though, we can remember the story of Jesus and know that this cry to "let this cup pass" did not happen, did it? The cup of suffering, the cup that God the Father had put in front of the Son, was the cup of which the Son was to drink. In fact, in our second reading we are reminded that it was specifically in the suffering that God does the thing He wanted to do: bring about salvation for all who obey Him!
On this Sunday in Lent, only two weeks away from Holy Week and Easter when we will celebrate the death and resurrection of our Lord, this reflection can be a bit of a gut check. The Lord does indeed hear our prayers, and the Lord does indeed desire to bring us what we ask for. The gut check is that is not the reality of our life that His will is to always take us out of the suffering we feel; often, He may allow us to suffer and it is actually in our suffering that He bring us closer to Himself.
This, in some sense, is the point of Lent; do we trust God's plans enough to live in this tension, to experience the suffering, and not be overwhelmed by it but simply draw nearer to His love instead? For these last two weeks of Lent, we can live in that tension, knowing that we already experience the Lord's love in a way that prefigures an eternity of experiencing that love, but since we are not there yet it may be an experience of a love that involves suffering and pain as we move towards our heavenly homeland.
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 has your Lent been so far? What has God been revealing to you about His love in your acts of penance?
In what ways is God still calling you to draw nearer to Him, even in moments that are difficult or may involve suffering?
How can you take concrete steps this week to seek and to follow God's will for your life? What are the little ways is He calling you to trust when it may not be easy?
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.
"I trust You."
"You are enough."
"You hear me."
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?
With one week until Holy Week, and therefore only two weeks left in this penitential season, what might God be calling you to add or renew in your devotions and your fasting? Don't be unreasonable, but pray about what more God might ask you to do. Maybe you fast from Netflix or a certain show and instead pick up a good spiritual book; maybe you fast from the snooze button. Whatever it is, what can you give or what prayer can you introduce into your life to end this Lent on a high note?
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 Theobald, Director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntley, IL.