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).
Imagine sitting outside of your local ice cream shop just watching the people pass by and some man walks by and says, "Follow me." Would you go? Would you run the opposite direction and never return? Most of us would be inclined to do the latter. Run in the opposite direction leaving your ice cream to melt on the bench.
In today's gospel, Matthew is just sitting outside a customs post, the ice cream shop of the original 20s when Jesus walks past and says, "Follow me." Then Matthew gets up and follows. He doesn't turn back.
What an extreme gift of faith that Matthew was given!
As I put myself in the story and think back to the time when Jesus asked me to "Follow Him" I don't know that I got up as quickly and started walking. I usually take a few steps, maybe a walk a mile or two, then I turn back, trying to not let him see that I've abandoned our journey together. But who am I kidding, Jesus always sees!
He actually turns around, waits to see where I'm going, and then comes after me to ask again, "Follow Me."
He wants us to be with him, it's really all He wants. The Lord's heart is burning with love for us. He will come back to us however many times he needs to so we will follow him.
We make this harder than it has to be. We put conditions on His unconditional love. We say, "I can't forgive that person, they hurt me too deeply." "I can't follow you today because I have to do this thing with these people, if I don't they won't like me." "I can't pray right now, I need to see what these snaps are, these stories say, these posts share, these texts say, etc."
We are celebrating the memorial of St. Maria Goretti today. She died when she was just 11 years old because her neighbor Alessandro forced himself upon her and then stabbed her numerous times when she refused him. After undergoing surgery without anesthesia, she forgave him before she passed. He tried to take her purity, stabbed her to death, and she forgave him. Read that sentence again, let it sink in.
When I do, all of my excuses for not following Jesus crumble to pieces. I'm inspired again today to get up from my bench, drop my ice cream, and follow him. I hope you'll come too!
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's holding me back from following Jesus?
What hurts am I holding on to that are preventing me from forgiving others so I can follow Jesus with empty hands?
What am I scared of? Am I afraid of where Jesus is going to lead me?
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 will follow you."
"I love you Lord."
"I trust where you'll lead 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?
Think about what's holding you back from following Jesus today and lay it down for good at the foot of the Cross. Then start walking toward the Lord.
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 Katie Herzing, a former youth minister turned parish evanglization consultant living in North Carolina.
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.