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).
What an amazing set of readings we have for this Sunday in Ordinary Time. We are going to meditate on this passage from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, but I highly recommend going and reading all of the readings if you didn't already because they tie together beautifully.
There is something uniquely painful about any time that we are left alone or forgotten. When we realize that, for one reason or another, someone for whom we care deeply does not care for us in a similar way, it is painful. At the core of who we are is a desire to be seen, a desire to be loved, and a desire to be cared for.
The inverse of that, of course, is also true. Put in a positive way, when we are truly seen, known, and cared for, it is a powerful thing. When there is someone who sees us—the good, the bad, and everything in between—and loves us exactly as we are, that is powerful. We all desire to be loved like that and we all deserve to be loved like that. We are created for relationships of love, and whether that is lived out in our lives now and during the rest of them in friendships, religious community, marriage, family, or any other legitimate way that God brings us people who love us and know us, those relationships give us the experience of being seen and known.
In today's reading from Isaiah, we hear of a moment when the Israelite people are being promised again that they will be seen, known, and loved. This book contains a lot of struggle, as the people deal with an exile from their promised land and the lack of fulfillment of God's promises to them for a kingdom of their own. They hear this good news from Isaiah and oh how good it must have sounded: He will come for you! I will not stop speaking out for you and fighting for you, God is saying, until you are back in relationship with me because I delight in you.
This is a profound key to the spiritual life of the Christian: living in relationship with God is not first about our action but His. God takes the initiative to come after us, and we simply allow ourselves to be seen, to be loved, and to be delighted in.
Flash forward to today's Gospel, of course, and we see this action on God's part happening. At a wedding, which symbolically reminds us of the promise of God in this reading and throughout the Old Testament that God will wed himself to his people, Jesus begins the public ministry by which he will bring all people back into an intimate, personal, and real relationship with the Father. We are his people, his bride, who will be able to be in a relationship of love and intimacy with God for all of eternity, beginning right here and now.
For you and I today: how do we respond to God's initiative? He is looking at us and saying: I will not be silent in your life! I delight in you, I love you, and I desire for you to be my bride, my people, the ones who are close to me forever. Are we responding to that call, and letting God's action be fruitful in our lives?
God has not stopped working in the world, and he will not. He is seeking you and I; let's allow ourselves to be found.
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.
How are you responding to God's initiative in your life? How can you do a better job of hearing him and then responding?
In what ways are you seeing the fruitfulness of God's love in your life and the lives of those around you?
What is your relationship with God like today? What holds you back from truly being deeply in relationship with him each day?
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.
"Thank you Jesus."
"You are good, Lord."
"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?
It's not too late to make a resolution for the year or too early to begin thinking about Lent. In a journal or somewhere that you write things down, jot down some notes of the relationship you are feeling called to enter into with God this year. Maybe you feel like he's asking you to be closer to him, or maybe he wants to do something new. Then, take those words or ideas to prayer: how can the next few weeks or months be about truly encountering him and entering into that relationship you desire to have?
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, Executive Director of Carpe Verbum.
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.