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. Please note that we are using the readings for the Ascension today, as the feast is transferred to Sunday in most Diocese in the US, including ours, the Diocese of Rockford.
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).
I need you to do me a favor: please go back and read the Gospel again. Ready? Ok let’s go.
That is the theme of today’s Gospel, Jesus gives His disciples a very simple instruction: “Go.” He says “go" and make disciples, “go” and baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and “go” and teach in my name. These simple instructions, given to the disciples, are also meant for us today. They are the instructions for all baptized Christians. We have a duty, a responsibility, to go out and to let others know about our faith.
Why do we need to tell others about our faith? Well, if the fact that Jesus told us to isn’t enough for you, let me ask you a question: do you really believe in the resurrection? Do you really believe that Jesus destroyed death so that we could be with Him in heaven? Do you really believe that we have a God who loves us so much He sent His Son to die for us?
If you answered yes to these questions, then why wouldn’t you want to tell someone about your faith, about Jesus? Don’t you want to tell someone about that awesome movie you just saw (because Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was super cool)? Or don’t you tell someone about the new song you are obsessing over? Or that new summer food you can’t live without (because Halo Top Ice Cream is really incredible)?
Movies, songs, and ice cream are all things of this world and we talk about them constantly. But Jesus is the key to eternal life, so why do we keep Him a secret? Why aren’t we shouting the fact that Jesus is alive? It is still Easter, have we already forgotten?
I get it. Sharing our faith can be pretty scary. It is hard to be labeled the “Catholic kid,” and I know that from personal experience. But Jesus isn’t asking us to do this on our own. Take a moment and go back and read today’s first reading again. Jesus isn’t telling us to “go” by ourselves. He is not sending us out unprepared; in fact, He tells the disciples to grab a friend and go out two by two. But most importantly, He gave us the Holy Spirit to be with us. We read, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
The Holy Spirit is with us. The Spirit is not waiting till you need Him to come, the Spirit is always with you. You received the Holy Spirit at your baptism and again at your Confirmation. The gifts of the Spirit give us the courage to go and follow Jesus’s words, to be a witness and to spread the Gospel in our hallways at school, at work and in our own homes. You have the all the power you need to go out and change to the world. That is our mission that we read today on the feast of the Ascension. Jesus has returned to the Father, leaving us full of hope and the mission to go and spread His good news.
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.
When you hear the command of Jesus to "go", what does that mean to you in your life right now? Where are you being called to go - out of your comfort zone, out of your habits, or out of some situation you are in?
What stops you from sharing your faith with others? How can you learn to be more bold in sharing it?
How can you call upon the Holy Spirit more consistently and effectively in your life? Take a moment in this prayer to pray for the Holy Spirit in specific areas of your life.
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 go."
"Send me forth."
"Come, Holy Spirit."
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?
Use social media to share the joy of the Lord with those who follow you today. Maybe you snapchat a picture on your way to Mass, or instagram something you're thankful for. Whatever it is, use your social media to boldly proclaim your faith. If you want, use #carpeverbum so you can see what other people are sharing.
If you don't have social media, then you get to share your faith in person: find someone in your life, and share with them why you are grateful for your faith today.
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 Lisa Kendzior, Junior High Youth Minister at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Crystal Lake, IL.