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).
Where sin increased grace overflowed all the more. Today’s first reading captures one of my favorite verses in scripture. Not only does it contain an inspiring and hopeful message, but also deep theological truth.
Let’s break it down.
“Where sin increased, grace overflowed all the more,
so that, as sin reigned in death,
grace also might reign through justification
for eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 5:20-21)
Two key concepts to understand here: justification and grace.
Justification encompasses the forgiveness of our sin, new life in Christ, and promised eternal salvation—all in one term. To say that we have been justified is an incredible and privileged truth of the Christian life. More importantly, justification is not something we can do as humans; only God has the power to offer us forgiveness, new life, and an eternity spent with him.
The Catholic Catechism states: “Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men" (CC1992). Jesus has justified us through his Passion. It is a free gift from God, offered to us by Christ on the cross.
The Catechism goes on to state: “Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life” (CC1996).
Read that last sentence. God is giving us free and undeserved help in responding to his call.
Jesus died on the cross to merit us justification, but didn’t stop there. In my understanding, grace is God’s response to the human difficulties that result from evil present in the world. This is the work of Jesus Christ, that we would be able to seek him and live holy lives with the help of his grace and mercy.
So now that we understand grace, read today’s first reading again. God will not let death reign. Sin won’t win. When we find ourselves in battle, we can have confidence. Like a massive tidal wave crashing onto shore, God’s grace will overflow into our lives.
Let’s turn to God in prayer and thank him for the incredible gifts of justification and grace.
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 do I try to earn heaven on my own, without God's help?
In what ways do I daily ask God for the help to become a saint? How can I grow in this practice?
When I face temptation and sin, how do I rely on God to carry me through it?
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.
"Where sin increases, your grace overflows more."
"Thank you, Jesus."
"Pour out your grace."
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?
Grace is a gift, so don't be afraid to ask for more of it! Take time in prayer today to ask God to supply you with even more grace so that you can be strengthened in your work of becoming a saint, and thank God for the grace he is already supplying.
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 Liam Brady, an accountant in Chicago.
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