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).
To be honest, I first read and meditated on this reading a while ago. I was praying about it, but nothing was really “jumping out” at me. In the days following that first meditation on this passage, a lot seemed to be happening in the world. Between hurricanes, earthquakes, forest fires and nuclear war threats (to say the least), a phrase from the reading kept popping into my head: “The wrath of God is indeed being revealed from heaven…”
The “wrath of God” seems to be an old school or Old Testament kind of thing. I think of my relatives telling me stories of what it was like to be taught by a strict nun before Vatican II, warning misbehaving students of God’s anger. I remember the plagues and all other sorts of destruction stories mentioned in the Old Testament. Though it is so easily forgotten, we must realize that God doesn’t HAVE to be loving and merciful (but of course He wonderfully is!).
Let’s be clear: God’s wrath is not just an Old Testament concept. It is real and it is eternal.
Unlike what we might think of when considering someone who is angry, God is not having a bad temper and needing to cool down, nor is His wrath ever wrongly elicited. Rather, the wrath of God is about justice. Out of love, God has given us free will. If we choose sin, there are consequences, and those consequences don’t have to wait until judgment day.
In this letter to the Romans, St. Paul reminds us that we do not have an excuse for sin. Sin is our own choosing, and that choice includes turning away from God. Although God does not want that for us and would rather give us an outpouring of His love and mercy, He will respect our choice and allow our death and destruction.
When we see or experience God’s wrath, it may be easy to point the finger and say, “Well, I’M not the one committing those crimes, spreading hatred, aborting babies, denying God, etc., it’s THOSE people”. However, we must realize the impact of our own sins. We can neither excuse ourselves from God’s wrath, nor take the whole weight of it.
So what do we do now?
Run to God. Run to God with a contrite heart.
Even in the face of your greatest temptations, and even when the world seems like a lost cause, keep striving. Remember what your goal is, and always, ALWAYS ask Mary and Jesus for help.
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 sin, how does God react? How can you run to Him for forgiveness?
God has given you free will, how do you choose to use it?
When you sin, how does it hurt yourself?
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.
"Run to God."
"I am sorry Lord."
"I choose you God."
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, make an examination of conscience. Where in your life have you sinned? Pray with your sins and how they affect you. Run to the loving arms of your Father and go to confession as soon as you can.
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 Katie LoBosco, a student at the University of Dayton studying Music Therapy.