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).
As Valentines’ Day is approaching, we are surrounded by red and pink hearts. Cards on the shelves are filled with “heartfelt” wishes and sayings. It’s a time full of chocolate and tiny little valentines for our friends at school. It’s easy to get caught up in the outward signs of love and affection. This one day set aside to showcase the heart we have for our significant others or family members.
It’s way easier to throw a chocolate rose at someone than sharing your thoughts on what you love about them. In today’s Gospel, Jesus is talking about our hearts. He describes this interior struggle for purity of thought. People at this time were very concerned about laws and eating “unclean” foods. There was such a focus on the exterior and the things that they could control from the outside. But Jesus is telling them that those things are not the problem. It’s what comes from within. From within our hearts. It’s the condition of our hearts-not the outward stuff. What is the disposition of our hearts? How do react to sufferings or events in our days? We can’t always control what happens to us during the day, but we can control our thoughts and what comes from our hearts.
Fr. Jacques Phillippe says, “Thought gives direction to the heart and that determines action.” Keeping our hearts fixed on Jesus and that His hand is there in every moment will help us to remain pure. Tending to our thoughts is such a necessary part of our life. The constant choice to choose the spirit of faith, hope, and love. Suffering will happen. People will be annoying to us. People will cut us off in traffic. Someone will sneeze on us and get us sick. Things are not always going to go our way. These things are not the problem. The problem is the way we react to them.
We can choose one path-the path God is calling us to, which leads to life. Or we can freely choose bitterness and despair, which leads to unhappiness and discontent. And this goes for all of us. I love that part of the Gospel. Jesus says, “Hear me, ALL OF YOU.” That really stuck out to me because it is easy to think that this message applies only to others. I can so quickly judge the outside actions of others and yet fail to see the inside of my own heart. The parts of my heart that are hidden but nonetheless hold grumblings and bitterness. Jesus is saying this message is for YOU. All of you. So we can still eat our chocolate hearts and share our fun Valentine’s Day messages this weekend. But l’m also going to look inside my own real heart and see what’s inside. To see what’s truly filling my own heart. I’ll fill my chocolate hearts with peanut butter (obviously) and my real heart with a disposition of love and hope.
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 truly filling my own heart?
In what areas of my mind and heart do I need to purify my thoughts?
What is the disposition of my heart toward God? Towards those around 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.
"Hear me, all of you."
"Purify my heart."
"Purify my thoughts."
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?
Focus on one way that you can purify your heart and mind in order to better love those around you.
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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 Megan Kramer, a parishioner at St. Mary's Parish in Huntley, IL.
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