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).
Remember reading the story of Noah's Ark for the first time as a kid? Maybe not the first time, but the ideas you had of it from when you were a kid? All of those images of huge boats, tons of animals on them, and a flood that lasted for days made for a story that captured our imaginations, and for a good reason.
Of course, in the process, many of us missed the deeper meaning of what was happening in that story. The people had begun to live disordered lives; they were choosing themselves and their sinful desires over the things that they knew were right. Things got so bad that, one day, God sent a flood. For forty days and forty nights it rained, and the entirety of the world they knew was wiped out by this flood. Noah's ark is not a story meant to focus on the animals, though, and certainly not meant for us to get bogged down on the details of how the elephants, tigers, polar bears and even the snakes all lived together in harmony. As interesting as all of that is to talk about, there is a far more important spiritual message in this story, one that today's Gospel reminds us of as Jesus hearkens back to the story of Noah.
God, the author of all life and all of creation, made the world in the beginning. Then, when Noah lived, the world had turned into disarray and God re-created everything through a flood. When sin continued, God came and became man in Jesus, re-creating us all through His death and resurrection and offering the chance at life in His eternal creation in heaven.
God is the creator of everything. He is the one whose Word brings us to life and whose breath sustains us. At each moment, God is actively working to re-create you and I into His image and likeness. The warning in today's Gospel is simple: neither you nor I know the time when our journey on earth will end, nor do we know when the world itself will end and God will create once again, allowing us to be with Him for eternity in heaven. God wants to begin His work right here and right now. He doesn't want to wait, and so we ought not to keep Him waiting.
Advent is a time that is set apart for us to allow God to re-create our heart. Today is the dawn of a new year. Today is the time of salvation, the time the Lord has made for you to know Him, to love Him, and to be loved by Him. Don't wait. The Creator of everything is waiting to re-create your heart. To teach you to love and to be loved, and He wants to continue to form you in His image and likeness even in this moment.
Happy Advent. Let's be re-created in this amazing season of penance and of waiting for the Creator to come and be born in His creation.
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.
We don't know the time or the hour, pray about what you can be doing in the here and now to live out your faith.
How are you putting God off? How are you keeping Him waiting?
How can you relet God into your heart?
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.
"God is coming."
"Renew my heart."
"Right here, right now."
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 Lord bear fruit in you today?
Make a new year's resolution today, one for your spiritual life and one you actually will keep. How can you be renewed this Advent?
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 Jason Theobald, Director of Youth Ministry at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Huntley, IL.