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 love the Easter season for a number of reasons, but one in particular is that we get to walk through the Acts of the Apostles as a Church in the Mass readings. In the readings over the past many days we’ve been following St. Paul on his missionary journeys, and today we hear about his arrest, along with Silas, in Philippi. They are beaten and thrown into prison after the people all turn against them because of their preaching. No big deal—literally another day in the life of St. Paul.
But the bigger part of the story recounted in Acts is the miraculous prison break of Paul and Silas, and the unlikely conversion of the guard. I don’t know about you, but my conversion was a bit less dramatic than the prison guard. Sure, there was an emotional and dramatic piece to my initial encounter with Christ and with the Gospel, but it was a pretty ordinary conversion story, as many of yours may also be. But nonetheless, as I read this story, I’m struck by the great lengths God will go to in order to draw his children into a relationship with him, and this truth was no less important in my own conversion, and yours!
We don’t know much about the prison guard, other than he was not a Christian and he was tasked with securely guarding over Paul and Silas, though he wasn’t doing a very good job since he was asleep. We don’t know what kind of life he led, what struggles and sins he was carrying, or what he did or didn’t believe about what Paul was preaching. All we know is that God, in what may seem like simply a plot to free two of his faithful evangelists, literally used an earthquake to open the guard’s eyes to his love for him. Did you read this story in this way?
It’s easy to look at this account and simply feel like God was being so nice in freeing two disciples from being arrested—it’s harder to see that God accomplished two great things this night. The guard is ready to end his life because he knows the trouble he will be in for letting the prisoners escape, but God intervenes through Paul. It’s in this moment of mercy that the guard’s eyes are opened. God broke into the life of this unnamed guard through an earthquake and a plea to spare his life—talk about great lengths! In this encounter of the power and the mercy of God, the guard asks the crucial question, “What must I do to be saved?” That very night, the guard and his whole household are baptized and came to faith in God.
The Lord is always working to draw us back to himself—whether in that initial encounter and conversion, or in the day-in, day-out mundane lives we lead. God will literally move heaven and earth just to break into our lives and reveal himself, and he is even doing so for you and me at this very moment. What will it take to open your eyes?
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.
In what ways are my eyes closed to what God is doing in my life? How can I start looking for how he is working?
How do I wait for God to go great lengths to reveal himself to me before I respond to him? Why?
What is God doing in my life today? How will I respond?
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.
"Open my eyes."
"Show me how you are working."
"Break into my life."
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:
Holy Virgin of Guadalupe,
Queen of the Angels and Mother of the Americas.
We fly to you today as your beloved children.
We ask you to intercede for us with your Son,
as you did at the wedding in Cana.
Pray for us, loving Mother,
and gain for our nation and world,
and for all our families and loved ones,
the protection of your holy angels,
that we may be spared the worst of this illness.
For those already afflicted,
we ask you to obtain the grace of healing and deliverance.
Hear the cries of those who are vulnerable and fearful,
wipe away their tears and help them to trust.
In this time of trial and testing,
teach all of us in the Church to love one another and to be patient and kind.
Help us to bring the peace of Jesus to our land and to our hearts.
We come to you with confidence,
knowing that you truly are our compassionate mother,
health of the sick and cause of our joy.
Shelter us under the mantle of your protection,
keep us in the embrace of your arms,
help us always to know the love of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
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 Adam Smyth, the Life Teen Coordinator at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in the Woodlands, TX.
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.