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).
Gut check time. Every once in a while, the Lord knows I need to honestly evaluate myself and see where I’ve grown lazy or arrogant when it comes to my relationship with Him. Because I’m a broken and sinful man, He sometimes brings up these moments more frequently in my life in some seasons more than others. Today was an opportunity for me to reflect on where I’m placing the importance in my relationship with the Lord as I read the encounter between Jesus and the scribe in Mark’s Gospel.
One of the biggest traps I fall into as a disciple of Jesus is the “works-based” or “satisfaction” trap (as I’ve decided to name them). At a certain point following a great moment of consolation in prayer, a wonderful retreat or conference, a powerful moment in adoration, just like everyone else who follows God, I start to lose a little bit of the focus on love. For some of you it may feel like you’re riding high after a great retreat and two weeks later, it feels like it never happened or like it was all a lie. As for me, I lose my focus on simply knowing God and living in His love and I begin to turn my life into a series of works to complete for God—to serve Him until he is satisfied enough to give me good things again. Brothers and sisters, to believe that God desires for us to simply do enough good things so He can then give us good things in return is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ—it is a lie!
As I read the scribe’s answer to Jesus after being asked which of the commandments is greatest (to which Jesus says: love God and love your neighbor) I’m struck by how different his response is than mine would most likely have been in that moment. “To love the Lord with all your heart…is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Whether you’re tempted to feel abandoned by God as soon as the “feeling” of being loved or loving Him disappears after powerful encounters on retreats, or you feel like you need to start doing great and many works to earn God’s love and His gifts in your life again, read the words of this scribe. To simply love God with all of your heart, understanding, strength, and soul is greater than all of the sacrifices, all of the works, all of the things you could possibly do to get God to notice how hard you’re trying. God desires you to know Him and to love Him more than anything else. We’ve been shaped by a performance-based culture: do good things, get good things in return. But God is not so! The greatest command He gives to us is to simply love Him, to love our neighbor as ourselves, and to receive the love they have for us. Let’s pray today to have the same outlook as the scribe and to see that God is far more concerned with loving us than being served by us.
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 often do you fall into the trap of a "works-based" or "satisfaction" understanding of your relationship with God?
If you were the scribe in this situation, what would you have replied to Jesus when he said, "love God above all else and love your neighbor"?
How can you refocus your heart on loving God and receiving the love He has for you?
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.
"Teach me to love you."
Thank you for your love."
"I will follow 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?
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.