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).
Admittedly, I’m pretty bad at being focused. Now, don’t get me wrong, when I want to focus in on something I can, but the key phrase is “want to.” More often than not, I’m much more at home being “focused” on The Office or The Crown (hey it’s great don’t knock me). I’ll often find myself picking up books and then putting them down five minutes later or settling in for some prayer time only to have it cut short two minutes in by the allure of an episode of Stranger Things.
I can definitely be focused in many ways, shapes, and forms when I actually put my mind and willpower to it, but in general I tend to settle for my unfocused state. Imagine what life would be life if you could actually focus on God in prayer the way you wanted to: uninterrupted, devoted, singularly focusing on God and nothing else. Seems impossible doesn’t it?
You want to remain focused at Mass, but then Michael Scott quotes start seeping into your head. Or you want to remain focused during adoration, but then your favorite Dwight Schrute reference pops up out of nowhere.
What I’d like to propose to you is that we have a model of what it looks like to be focused on the Lord, someone who can not only be a model for you, but can actively pray for you and will this for you. Surprise: it’s Mary (it’s always Mary).
Today in the Church we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In a word, we celebrate Mary’s purity and intentionality of living before God, the lack of duplicity within her, her singular focus on God and ability to keep the things of God close to her heart and mind at all times. If you want to be holy and focus on God, imitate Mary.
To imitate Mary, ask yourself a simple, yet difficult question: am I willing to say yes to whatever God wants right now? This is what the Immaculate Heart of Mary models for us: a complete and total purity in the way she lived her life. Nothing mattered to her more than serving, knowing, and loving her Son. Not The Office, not podcasts, not video games; nothing. What mattered to Mary was a singular focus on her Beloved, her Son, her God.
So today, ask yourself, what is most important to me? Do I approach God with a purity in my intention, seeking God for His sake? What things do I place before Him, even if they seem like good things? How can I grow in saying yes to God in my own life? Am I ready to say yes to Him even at times when it seems inconvenient and I am not ready to do what He wants?
Today, imitate Mary and ask to be conformed to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, full of purity, wisdom, and love in knowing, loving, and serving our God.
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.
What is it in your life that distracts you and pulls your heart and mind away from God?
How is God calling your yes to him to deepen in your current season of life?
For you, what does focus look like in your prayer and spiritual life right now? How can you be more intentional about making the time and space to really encounter the Lord?
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.
"Mary, pray for me."
"Help me focus."
"Jesus, I trust in you."
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?
Before we continue with the prayer we have been praying daily during this pandemic, let us pray for unity. Please click here to pray the Prayer to Overcome Racism. I encourage you to pray this prayer often, or one similar in your own words so that we can begin to strive towards the unity God created us for.
In this difficult time, we will use our Action step each day to join with people around the world in praying for an end to the pandemic of the Coronavirus, for the healing of all those affected, and for the comfort of all those who have lost a loved one. The prayer below is from Archbishop José H. Gomez, President of the USCCB in his reflection and prayer during coronavirus:
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 Matthew Maxwell, a graduate of Franciscan University currently working as a Youth Minister in St. Louis.
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.