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).
“The disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.”
Today’s first reading really could be set in today’s time. People being preached to. People rejecting it. People being jealous, more people rejecting the faith. And some heard and believed and changed their lives. Others got mad, and persecuted the believers.
I don’t know about you, but this all sounds like one day on Catholic Twitter to me. And today, we see people dying for their Catholic faith in Sri Lanka. We see arguing about religion and its place in state laws. We see the Church growing by the 1000s at Easter. We see so much good and also so much sorrow, just like the disciples did.
Often, it's a lot easier to focus on the bad. It can overpower us, and make us feel so helpless. It can test our faith, and sometimes we let the darkness win.
But that's not the message of the reading.
The message is that despite the bad, the rejection, the persecution, the disciples were so joyful. They were filled with the Holy Spirit and the truth that Jesus died to save them. Their joy was so inspiring, so contagious that it continued to convert those around them. They were being put to death for their faith, yet their joy would not die.
It's a choice whether or not to follow Jesus. Not everyone will choose to, even if they have been told what He has done for us. And eternal life is not a guarantee, but rather it should be the goal. And we should strive for it every day.
One of my favorite almost saints is Blessed Chiara Luce Badano, who wanted to bring her friends to Jesus simply by being a good friend; isn't that something we all can do? On her deathbed at a young age she said, "I suffered a lot but my soul was singing.” If she can find joy in that moment, I can find joy in my everyday, in the rejection, in the hardness and in the suffering.
So today, be like the disciples, invite the Holy Spirit in and be filled with joy. It's still Easter, live like it.
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.
In what ways right now are you experiencing the joy and consolation of the faith? How is God showing you how close he is to you in your day to day life right now?
In what ways are you joining the apostles in the sorrow, persecution, and difficulty they experienced?
What are some ways you can allow the joy of God to become even more real to you in your life right now, whether it's increasing your time in prayer, surrounding yourself with people who remind you of God's love, or another way that you experience the joy of God's love?
How can you invite the Holy Spirit to inspire and lead you this day and every day?
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.
"You are our joy."
"All we need is in you."
"Come, Holy Spirit."
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?
Reach out today to a friend or group of friends who inspire you and remind you of the joy of following Christ. Surround yourself with people who remind you of God's love! Make today a day where you seek out those relationships.
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 Lisa Kendzior, Junior High Youth Minister at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.