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).
Oh God, be merciful to me, a sinner.
I don't think we pray that line from the Gospel today often enough.
There's a famous story of St. John Vianney who, one day, when saying Mass, read the Gospel and then the people sat down for the homily. In this moment, he found himself with tears in his eyes, and he looked at the crucifix. Then, St. John looked at the people and said something along the lines of: "he loves you that much."
Who knows if this is exactly how the story happened, but it's amazing, isn't it? And it makes a ton of sense. In the face of our brokenness, our sin, our failure, Jesus climbed up on that cross and died because he loved us even unto death. For in this is contained the great miracle, as St. Paul reminds us: for a good person, even you or I might even find the courage to die. For a sinner, a bad person, though; no one would die to save them. No one but our God.
We find ourselves in crazy and frankly unprecedented times. We are living in an age of fear and suffering, the likes of which the world hasn't known in generations. In the midst of this, I feel a profound sense of gratitude for a word of good news the Lord is speaking to me tonight: he has not changed, and he never will.
The reality of our lives, brothers and sisters, is that we were created by and are loved by a God who is INFINITELY bigger than anything that's happening in our world. He takes our sin, our shame, our brokenness, our fear, our anger — all of it — and redeems it for his glory; if we let him. The good news in the midst of all of this is that Jesus broke into our world to redeem our suffering and make it matter, and even in the midst of our suffering we know that he can and will take this suffering and redeem it for the good of the entire world, now and for generations to come.
Today, you and I have the chance to unite our sufferings to Jesus and, from that unity, see our lives and the lives of generations to come in our family and the world blessed. Our Lord went to the cross to redeem the suffering of the world – not to minimize it, not to downplay it, and not to get rid of it – and so today let's allow him to redeem the suffering we are facing.
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 good news is Jesus speaking to your heart today?
How has your suffering made it difficult to see God? What are the situations in your life that you need to turn over to him more profoundly this day?
In what ways is Jesus calling you today to unite your suffering to his suffering for the redemption of the world?
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.
"Have mercy on me, a sinner."
"Your cross is our salvation."
"You never change."
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?
In this difficult time, we will use our Action step each day to join with people around the world in praying for an end to the pandemic of the Coronavirus, for the healing of all those affected, and for the comfort of all those who have lost a loved one. The prayer below is from Archbishop José H. Gomez, President of the USCCB in his reflection and prayer during coronavirus:
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.