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 today’s first reading, St. Paul speaks in a lot of paradoxes mixed with a little bit of irony. At first glance, it can be kind of hard to understand (despite St. Paul’s words: “I am speaking in human terms because of the weakness of your nature”). As we begin to break open these paradoxes, the message becomes pretty clear: we all choose to serve someone or something. If we choose to serve God and love Him above all else, we find true freedom and abundant life. If we choose to serve anyone or anything else before God, we find death and tyranny.
We all know that sin is clearly a bad thing, and yet we still find ourselves getting caught up in the midst of it. St. Paul speaks ironically when he says, “For when you were slaves of sin, you were free from righteousness.” Such “freedom” is really tyranny, and yet how often do we notice ourselves and those around us placing our sinful behaviors and actions before prayer or our love for God? How often do we chase what “feels good,” as opposed to what we know is good?
When we are freed from sin, we become “slaves” to God, and yet this is not slavery in the sense that we typically think of. God is not a tyrant but a father who carries our burdens and troubles alongside us. The Father does not want us to come to the Sacrament of Confession so that he can shame us. He wants us to come to Confession so he can embrace us and take away our feelings of shame. I encourage you to embrace true freedom in the Sacrament of Confession, to return to the Father who wants to help carry your burdens and lead you to eternal life.
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.
Who do you serve? Are you serving anything else before God?
How often do you notice yourself placing sinful behaviors and actions before prayer or our love for God? How often do you chase what “feels good,” as opposed to what you know is good?
How will you turn back to the Father who loves you? How will you embrace true freedom?
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.
"Have mercy on me."
"Help me put you first."
"I love you, Lord."
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?
Today, prioritize what comes first in your life. Make plans for today or this weekend to go to Confession to receive God's unending mercy. During your prayer time today, really take a good look at how you're living right now. Are your thoughts and actions oriented towards God or towards yourself and/or sin? After that examination, make a plan on how you will concretely put God first in your life through prayer and actions.
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 Maggie Overbeck, Director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntley, IL.
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