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).
Tonight is the night. The weeks leading up to this night may seem like a blur to many of us: shopping, caroling, visiting family and friends, the list goes on and on. Hopefully, we have taken the time to slow down and reflect upon the real reason for the season of Advent, of the expectant Second Coming of Our Lord at the end of time, just as the people of Israel awaited the coming of the Messiah for generations. Waiting is a common thing in our Faith. We even name it as one of the theological virtues, along with faith and charity: hope. See waiting for us isn't just a time before something happens. It is a hope that reminds us that God has even more in store. But what does it mean for us in this season of Advent? What are we really hoping for? It is hope in the Lord for ourselves to see Him at our end. The Jews knew this kind of hope. They suffered numerous persecutions, enslavement, exile, siege and everything in between, but still their hope grew only stronger.
Zechariah, filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke for all of the generations before him, from Abraham until then, and through the inspiration from God, speaks for us even today. His words lead us into a great prayer of praise. Let us praise the Lord, for He has truly set us free from sin and death. He has indeed raised for us a great Savior, Christ the Lord. He has saved us from our enemies, saved us from the evils of the world, the flesh, and the Devil. He has shown His abundant mercy to us when we have strayed from the path of holiness and allows us to return to worship Him without fear through His Holy Church. Now, we are called to be prophets, so to speak, just as Saint John the Baptist was before us. We are to go into the world, bringing the good news of this night, that God became one of us to free us from ourselves and to show us what it is to be truly free and truly human.
Just as the rays of the monstrance shine upon us as we behold Him who takes away the sins of the world in Adoration, so too must we reflect the light of truth revealed to the world. This is the light that shone forth from the darkness, the light that guided the Magi to Bethlehem, the light that beckoned the shepherds hence, and the light that a New Mother held within her own arms, looking down to heaven. He is the light of the world, and may he illumine our world and our lives this night and always.
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.
Here we are, the day before Christmas, Christmas Eve... what have you done so far this Advent to prepare your heart for tomorrow? In all the preparing for "Christmas" have you remembered to prepare for Christ?
What can you do today to prepare the manger of your heart for Christ to be born tomorrow? What are some last minute preparations you can do to to be more prepared for this great and holy day?
Preparing is very important, but we must also sit and recieve a great gift this Christmas. What can you do to make sure that you aren't too busy "just preparing" that you miss the gift God has for you this Christmas? How can you make sure you are filled with the Holy Spirit?
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.
"He has raised up for us a mighty Savior."
"Be still and know that I am God."
"Free to worship Him without fear."
"Filled with the Holy Spirit he prophesied."
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?
This Gospel reading today is actually prayed everyday in the Liturgy of the Hours. Pray through it a few more times, then write your own prayer of praise and thanks to God this Christmas. You can use a similar format or a completely new one. It can be long or short. Just make it sincere and from the heart, filled with the Holy Spirit.
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 Kevin Poynton, graduate of the University of Dayton with a Degree in Religious Studies.