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).
I think that today’s first reading offers one of the best snapshots of what it must have been like to be a Christian in the early Church. There is so much to pull from out of the events described in the few lines we read from Acts today, I almost don’t know where to begin.
I mean we see the persecutions of Christians begin to grow in popularity; and we see the scattering of many followers as a result of it. We see the funeral of St. Stephen who, just yesterday, was stoned to death for his commitment to Christ, becoming the first known martyr. We see devout men and women being dragged out of their homes and sent to prison because of what they believe. And we see that behind all of it stands Saul (soon to be Paul - you may of heard of him?) a faithful Pharisee, picking off Christian followers of The Way one by one.
In the midst of all of this death and destruction, the Church survived. And not only that, it thrived. We are told that through the ministry of Philip, the city of Samaria (a city that was formerly considered to be far from God) was filled with “great joy.” Great joy! People are being killed, they’re grieving and mourning. And still, the Church is filled with “great joy.”
Because here’s the thing friends: even throughout the darkness, the light of Christ shines through.
It’s been easy to feel recently (at least in my own life) as if the voice of darkness in the world, in the Church, and sometimes even in my own heart is deafening. It can feel like the light doesn’t stand a chance against it. But the First Reading today reminds me that the Church is no stranger to darkness and neither is Christ. In fact, He conquered it, overcame it, ensured that it would never have the final word; not in the world, not in His Church, and certainly not in my heart. The Lord conquered darkness so that I - so that we - could live in the light.
So let’s take heart today friends, let’s remember, even in the darkness that seems to surround, that over 2,000 years ago the light shone out into the darkness, “and the darkness has not overcome it” (Jn 1:5).
Lord, thank you for giving up everything so that you might win for us victory over darkness in your Holy Name! Teach us what it means to walk in the light.
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.
As the early Christians experienced, we too will experience persecution for our faith, even though it may look very different. With that in mind, let us pray through the following questions today...
What kind of persecution might you face? Are you already facing it in some ways?
Will this kind of persecution strengthen your faith to go out and share it more, or hide you in the darkness of fear and doubt? How can you live more in the light so that your faith is strong enough to face persecution?
What are some areas in your life that darkness has been growing and you need the light of Christ to purify? How can this bring you a greater joy... even if it is difficult or even painful at first?
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.
"Here I am Lord."
"Come Holy Spirit."
"Jesus, I trust in you."
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?
Prepare yourself to persevere through any darkness or persecution that comes your way. Build a strong foundation of faith that won't be shaken and bring light to the areas in your life that may be hiding in darkness.
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 Lauren Wright, a Youth Minister in Rockford, IL.
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